As I drive up the golden tree lined mountain road to Lakeside School each morning, it feels a bit like approaching paradise. Right now, at autumn’s finest – the school is tremendously beautiful. It is also a haven of peace from the political turmoil that has caught our nation in its grip. Arriving at Lakeside is like stepping into our own little world, surrounded by laughing children running through yellow fluttering leaves. Here, the important news of the day revolves around the forts that the Kindergartners build, the Sprout that is learning to walk, the Second Grader who is becoming a great reader. At Lakeside School we are fully in the world of Childhood, unmarred by the real life barrage that surrounds adults.
The children at Lakeside School are given the opportunity to live life at their own pace. They are encouraged to jump into piles of leaves, race pumpkins down the play yard hill, and then hack open the rotten ones that have reached their battered end. They are encouraged to dig, and pretend, and explore. The children at our school learn poems and songs with all of their heart. They dance like roosters, they speak French with enthusiasm, and they paint gently blending colors with intense concentration. They immerse themselves and analyze fully each story they are told.
Though likely our students have discussed politics with their parents, they do not really know what it means to choose a President. Yet, each day at Lakeside School they are building the skills needed to make that choice. These children are learning how the world works, how to be kind to others, how to share, and how to tell right from wrong. The students here learn how to work cooperatively on a project, and how to immerse themselves in thought. They learn daily how to celebrate the beauty of life, yet also how to recognize and accept sadness. They learn how to control their emotions and how to be fair to all people. They are learning the importance of growing food, caring for animals, going on adventures, reading, being good at math, and loving to learn. At Lakeside School we are growing decision makers. We are nurturing future citizens who will someday care for the world and each other. Maybe, just maybe, our society will improve because of the children we are raising today. And so, we let them play.