Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Candlelight on the Line

I presented a new material to use with walking on the line and the children, especially the younger students, have taken to it. Years ago, when I was doing my Montessori internship I observed a child carry a lit candle (lit by the teacher) on a tray while walking on the line. The child carrying the lit candle was at the beginning of a small line of children who acknowledged the candle carrier as the one to go first, as if to "light the way" for the others. (Typing this now, I am suddenly remembering a poem or a song about such an act...will post it later if it comes to me - I can almost hear the lyrics)

I recall that the lead teacher at that school always photographed the children working and on that day was photographing the child carrying the small torch of light.

We have a no candle policy at our school. Last winter, Kathy (the person you go to at our school for all of the minor supplies you constantly need) presented me with a box of battery operated candles to use instead of the real ones. I really appreciated the gift.

This week I placed a wonderfully crafted, large spoon on top of the shelf which sits within the walking on the line tape. Next to the spoon I placed a small, green box decorated with a cardinal. I put one of the "candles" in the box.

When the moment was right, I rang the bell and announced that I was going to turn off the lights for a moment. This served as a grace and courtesy gesture for the other working students who might be briefly disturbed by the decreased lighting. Very carefully I lifted the candle from the box, flipped it over, pressed the blue button that turns it on and placed it in the bowl of the spoon. I held the spoon in my right, stretched out hand as I walked around the line. The children watched as I went around a second time. I returned the items to their place and turned on the lights.

Since my presentation several children have done this exercise. I really enjoy hearing them announce that they are going to turn off the lights. Somehow this declaration of intention conveys a commitment to the work before they have even taken their first step on the line. Here are a few photos:

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