The gift of time: A School That Believes in Letting Children 'Be'.
At Acton Lincoln, we get outside. A LOT. We look for opportunities to take our learning out of the classroom and in to the fresh air. We aren't afraid to get dirty while we learn through play. Last year our Montessori-aged learners clocked 491 hours outside with our two elementary studios coming in well over 300 hours. In fact we take outdoor free play so seriously that our Sparks spend each Wednesday at our Outdoor School which we call ‘Wilderness Wednesdays’, and our two elementary studios joining them every other week. On these days our learners simply spend the ENTIRE day exploring and immersing themselves in nature just outside Lincoln.
Our Guides encourage active exploration, inquiry, independence, kindness & character building, choice, critical thinking & problem solving, wonder, and discovery. Our days are loosely structured to allow space for the learners' curiosity and interest to lead.
The following are the reflections of our former Spark Guide turned Chief Encourager, Miss Devon after her studio clocked nearly 500 hours outside last year!
Time. It’s such a prized possession in today’s world.
There is so much emphasis put on it. Desire for it to speed up, to get to the next step. Then desire for it to slow down, wishing that certain moments wouldn’t pass by so quickly.
In a society that is always moving, always looking ahead…how valuable are the moments where we choose to pause, to reflect, to be present. To immerse ourselves in an environment that is nourishing and allows us to be our truest selves, also known as, the outdoors.
This past year, our Spark Studio learners clocked 491 hours outside. The equivalent of 12 standard 40 hour work weeks. 491 hours spent soaking in the sunshine and learning about themselves, cultivating courage and growth.
It was simply beautiful.
While I could only imagine having a window deep into the adventures that unfolded during this precious time, here’s what I did observe, from a bird’s eye view…
"How incredible that each of these young learners is now able to recognize how to interact with and thrive in the outdoors. How to connect with their world around them and discover things they love to do in the most natural of settings."
Space. Freedom. And play. Children in their purest form - laughing, running, creating, and exploring.
Stories. New ones being written and old ones being told. Stories that built on each other. The heroes picking up right where they left off in them. Day after day.
Curiosity. Wonder. Wholeness. Eyes open so wide. The taking in of all the different outdoor settings - whether that be the playground, the forest, or the open fields.
Grounding. Peace. The recognition of all the senses - sight, smell, touch, sound, and taste - and the ability to share which they were most grateful for from day to day.
Loss of time, leading to full immersion and presence in each moment.
Hours upon hours spent soaking in the sunlight on the most beautiful of days, and resilience being cultivated on the gloomier ones.
Time. 491 hours of it that were received as a gift. Time that stood still in many moments, because it was just that wonderful. The type of time that will keep on giving.
How incredible that each of these young learners is now able to recognize how to interact with and thrive in the outdoors. How to connect with their world around them and discover things they love to do in the most natural of settings.
It was nothing short of a blessing to get to pause alongside these heroes. To witness them further discover themselves and experience the JOY of the outdoors.
Here’s to all the hours in the sunshine that lie ahead…may they continue to be life-giving and nourishing in every way!