Tonight I witnessed a wonderful thing: families watching their children dance, children running around between the adults, rolling in the grass and playing in the dirt (the kids, not the adults!), and an entire school, pre-schoolers through eighth grade, parents, teachers, friends, relatives, and administrators coming together to celebrate this world we live in. Each level of students at our Montessori public charter school studied different continents and countries, set up games and food items from those countries, and dressed in traditional costume and danced traditional dances. We all sat outside in the late afternoon sun, the fields blowing green around us, and watched these children enjoy themselves sharing what they had researched, learned, and practiced.
I have to admit that when I first learned the Kidsfest program would start at 5 on a Friday afternoon and end around 8, I thought...well, my thoughts were not positive. Do they not know we work all day? Do they not know the kids' bed times are around 8? Do they not know...???
I am so very grateful to this school for many things, not the least of which is their complete and utter dedication to each child's well-being, learning, and growth, but tonight, I am grateful for a vision of hope. When 95% of the attendees at a school function are still there at the end of a program, long after their children have finished performing, you know something special is happening.
After the middle school danced their final dance to the Beatles' "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" (they had studied England, of course), the music and movement teacher said thank you and goodnight, and the students running the PA system started to play "Electric Slide." As my mom and I were trying to pull A towards the car; the program was over, after all, and it was already 8pm - A's bed time; A was pulling us towards the concrete pad the kids had used for their performances. She began to dance her bouncy version of the Slide, and my mom and I danced with her...until I noticed that the entire space was full of students dancing the Electric Slide. Kids of all ages danced with each other; pictures and video were taken. When the kids pulled the plug on the speakers after "Cotton Eyed Joe," everyone booed.
The parking lot emptied slowly. No one honked. No one yelled. No one cut anyone else off.
My daughter's eyes shone in the waning light as we drove down the winding road to our home, and she sang, "There is just one moon and one golden sun, and a smile means friendship to ev'ryone, though the mountains divide and the oceans are wide, it's a small world after all." Indeed.