By Julia Wickes
If you have been inside South City Community School, you know that, like many old brick buildings around St. Louis, our rooms are spacious, our ceilings are high, and our windows are big. They look out over rooftops and past alleyways. To the east they afford a glimpse into the beautiful Tower Grove Park along Kingshighway.
The teachers and children who spend their days in these rooms are lucky to have the natural light as well as an elevated view of the surrounding urban landscape. Our windows, incidentally, make a convenient portal for shaking out the crumbs from tablecloths after lunch (you might have seen one flapping in the trusty grip of a second grade lunch helper).
As a member of staff and parent of two SCCS children, I enjoy that my job involves a lot of roaming within our old building. The eclectic nature of being a teachers’ assistant puts me in a unique position that many parents wish for: to be a fly on the wall during their child’s school day. As I move in and out of different classrooms and look at the student work on display, I often wish I could provide a window into our school as generous and spacious as our literal windows. This desire, combined with my background in communications and writing, inspired me to begin a blog for SCCS.
The blog’s title, A Feast of Ideas, is based on a metaphor found throughout Charlotte Mason’s writings. She believed that real, solid ideas on a variety of subjects should be spread before children like a festive meal every day. Children should read the best books by the best authors so that their minds have the opportunity for a direct encounter with great minds, like one candle lighting another. Giving children mere data or pre-digested information is like offering them a meal of sawdust. Charlotte Mason also believed that education was an atmosphere and that classrooms should mimic a comfortable homelike environment.
These core ideas, along with many others from Charlotte Mason, shape the curriculum and culture at SCCS and make it unique. When I was discussing the idea of this blog with our co-head Brandy Greiner, she said jokingly that there are “about fifty things we do uniquely.” This blog will be a place to explore those unique aspects of our school and the reasoning behind them.
Sometimes A Feast of Ideas will highlight a specific classroom project or lesson. Other times it may review a book that our staff is reading or reflect on a certain aspect of Charlotte Mason philosophy. Occasionally we will offer a free lesson plan or some other useful educational content for teachers and homeschoolers. We hope to have guest authors and interviews as well. So please follow this blog, spread the word, and stay tuned for updates!