The One Where We Assemble a Picnic Table


Today, I was the guide on duty for lunch and free time.  Our new picnic table had arrived the day prior and was sitting askew in pieces in the front lawn needing assembly.  One of our Eagles had already kindly volunteered to help toward the end of our art block but got stuck a couple of steps in and ran out of time.  I decided to tackle what I could as we couldn’t leave it in pieces sticking up- too much of a safety hazard and our growing school community needs more seating ASAP. I had thought of asking some learners for help but didn’t want them to have to give up their free time.  I was ten minutes in and stuck on the same step the Eagle had been stuck on during art when a nine-year-old learner with a broken leg came up to me in her wheelchair, “can I help you, Ms. Matina?”.  “Yes please!” I said in relief.  I gave her the written instructions and youtube video and we set to work.  Her Lego and instruction reading skills shined and we got past being stuck. Friends came over to ask if she wanted to play and she politely declined. We toiled until free time was over and she offered to stay to see the job through.  The boy who had helped during art came over and offered his support and they both remained an additional thirty minutes in careful concentration.  The smell of pride in the air as the last screw was tightened was practically aromatic- we did it!  I am positive if I hadn’t had their help I would have had to stay after school to finish.  

Because of that project, I was late coming in to lead the middle school Quest launch.  I walked into the room, out of breath and ready to make a big apology for my tardiness.  What I found was our middle schoolers hard at work on the Quest challenge- I wasn’t needed, they had all the tools and independent learner skills to continue their learning without a guide.  

What a gift today has been- a reminder that, when given the chance, children can surprise us beyond our wildest dreams with their servant leadership, love of learning and responsibility.  This is a learner-driven community. This is Evergreen Academy.