Lessons from roses

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Posted 08 May 2012 in Uncategorized


Lesson #1: Love

I went out to the front of a school today to pick some roses as models for drawing. Walking back into the classroom, people were sort of…shocked. “You mean you just ran out to the front and cut those flowers?” “You have a lot of energy.”  A teacher commented that I was a little crazy (not in a negative way). I told her, “you haven’t seen the half of it,” and thus began our discussion of the lack of love and fun in school.

It is a very difficult thing to talk about love and beauty and caring in a school system that is struggling to keep its head above water. Recent statistics point to unconscionable levels of illiteracy. Yet without nurturing a culture of empathy, respect and beauty, I don’t foresee test scores rising. If children don’t learn to care–about their environment, their friends, their work–we will remain mired in a cycle of ignorance and mediocrity.

Lesson #2:Details matter

Amelia Gambetti’s (an educator from Reggio Emilia who I worked with for many years) voice still rings in my ear: “Details, details, details.”  It is important to be aware of the choices that we make, from the most minor decisions to the most significant. Drawing the roses, there were two types of markers available, fine line and broad tip. We spent time talking about the differences in the lines, and I asked children to consider which marker they needed, instead of grabbing haphazardly. Attentive decision making, discerning, selecting, choosing, builds self-awareness and consciousness–the opposite of indifference.



  1. Now Amelia’s quote will forever be in my head as well, and I am grateful!

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