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“How Life’s Work Gets Done”

“What seems to be the problem, Mr. Clark?” This is the question posed by older students when they encounter our facilities coordinator, Dick Clark, working in a classroom or on the yard. Preschoolers simply ask, “What are you doing, Mr. Clark?” and “Why?”

These questions reflect the camaraderie and ease children feel as they watch our skilled staff carrying out tasks in timely and loving ways. Recently students got to watch our newest facilities team member, Court Funk, already known as Mr. Court, carefully painting a sign in the entry hall indicating the location of the Office.

These friendly facility workers, committed to our school values, get to know children all over the school. John Murphy, the third facilities team member, has had three children attend our school and often works as a substitute in the elementary program.

Most of the work the children observe this team carry out is problem solving: fixing a clogged drain or finding and fixing a leak in the ceiling. However, there are also long-term projects where the children can watch step-by-step progress, like building the pretend kitchens in both preschool yards and constructing planter boxes and the playhouse in the Rooms 3-4-5 yard.

Physical work in our school environment isn’t just the province of the facilities team. Adrienne Wallace, our elementary gardening teacher, has countless tasks and projects in nourishing and maintaining our many gardens, especially the Seven Circles, which is an outdoor science lab environment for the elementary school. She does much of her work with students’ help, even building homes for the guinea pigs and the quail.

Children also get to observe our staff in the process of making art: Lara Cannon painting sets for school plays or working in the art room on a painting for the staff room or Special Projects Coordinator Sue Tacker painting a mural in our middle hallway.

In this information age, the quick flow of ideas through technology is often prized over work that involves physical effort and material mastery. However, when children have the chance to watch many types of physical endeavor, they come to appreciate all jobs as integral parts of the whole. It’s wonderful when families acknowledge and value these important work contributions too. “Look what Mr. Clark is making!” Parent help is also greatly appreciated in a wide variety of ways, monthly in the gardens and even occasionally making sets for our plays.

As our song “Learning to Work Together” says,Learning to work together, learning to work as one, Learning to work together, that’s how life’s work gets done. We are building more than a home; we are building a living school. We are building a brand-new world, and our lives are the tools.”


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