2011. február 9., szerda

Egy újságcikk rólunk

Mary, a 68 éves whoofer otthon, az usában amúgy egy Nanny Agency-t vezet. Ennek a newsletterébe írta rólunk ezt a cikket (http://www.nanny.com/newsletter_jul-10.php):

Work As Play

I am in the Aran Islands, Ireland, visiting. Also visiting here is a young mother, Hungarian, with her three-year-old son, Shamu. 

Shamu loves everyone: the two young Moroccan men, and Halal (female, Turkish, artistic), who are also guests. Then we have Marcus the donkey, Bran the Labrador Retriever, several chickens and three cats. There are also the four children of our host, Dara Molloy. And in the midst of all this is Celie, with Shamu. We are all guests of a nonconformist priest and his family, on this island off the windy and still chilly Atlantic coast. Together we live and make things work. 

Lucky Shamu... the longer he is here, the less he depends on Celie. But Celie has encouraged this, first by bringing him to such a place and now by letting him go, bit by bit, as he gains confidence in this strange setting. Shamu for his part rarely fusses, willingly participates, loves to show off, but not too much, and takes his naps and bedtime in stride. He doesn’t wake up early, doesn’t go to bed late, eats what he is given, laughs, sings, relates to the adoring adults around him. Is this a naturally perfect child, or is it special parenting that leads to such perfection? 

Actually, we are not guests, we are all volunteers, helping on this organic farm in rocky Ireland. So our days are filled not with touring but with work: feed the animals, see that everyone eats well (and cleans up). Pull weeds. Plant potatoes, tomatoes, and carrots. Wash communal laundry. Harvest kale, radishes, celery, and rhubarb from which to make meals that will appeal to all of our tastes, even if they aren’t perfect (no butter, eggs or commercially prepared meats for Abdulhoq, no fish for Celie and Shamu, high protein for me, etc.). 

And Shamu helps. True, he is small, so he helps only a little, but he does help, even at age three. Three-year-olds in the Montessori classroom are taught to help in food preparation. One of the “games” consists in peeling and cutting up a carrot, then passing it around to classmates. In the kitchen here, Shamu cuts potatoes into reasonable cubes once Celie has peeled them. He wears an apron and hangs it up afterwards. Celie says he will probably attend a Waldorf school -- there are no Montessori schools near their home. 

The secret to success here is that the process is natural. Celie presents food preparation not as an “experience” or even as a chore. It is a part of our life, it’s what we do. Like his experiences with the people and the animals, it is another way to live through work and play, -- one thing runs into the other. 

Tess, Dara’s wife, when she removed the children from school to teach them at home, feared that she did not know enough of how to teach. What she learned, she says, is that she does not have to teach. The children are eager to learn -- all she has to do is provide the materials and be available for guidance as needed. 

Rousseau would have loved it, I think: education as part of life, whether for little Shamu or for the older, home-schooled children, here on an organic farm, a stone’s throw from the ocean and under wind-swept skies: education as a part of life, another natural process, free and available for all who are willing.