At School Meeting today, we’ll hear a motion to amend the current rules about “WIPs” (Works In Progress) to allow for outside WIPs to be kept on forts overnight. In other words, to establish some form of property rights — the ability of a fort-builder to maintain possession of their creation from day to day.
Forts are big business at The Circle School. Whether part of high-drama epic fantasy or low-key domestic fantasy, they occupy hours — even days — and are often as impressive in their construction as they are varied. But they are vulnerable.
During a “war” (usually waged through stick fights), whether between factions of a Medieval Times scenario, or between wolves and hunters, forts are given some respect — but may also become a target. While destroying a fort that’s under active construction could be written up as disruption of activity (4415.04‐SM: No one may knowingly disrupt people’s activities while at school or while participating in school sponsored functions so long as said activities are legal and within the rules of the school.), a fort left unattended for a few hours is largely unprotected. In thirty years, never has School Meeting established a rule that would allow a person or group to retain the rights to their creation overnight.
I don’t know what will happen at School Meeting today (or next week, when we’ll likely vote on the proposal), but I do know that thinking about the history of forts at The Circle School, particularly now, as we mark our thirtieth year, made me a bit nostalgic for the forts and stick fights I’ve seen over the past thirty years. So much so that I pulled up from the basement the box of photos from when photos were still a tangible thing. Here are some of my favorites.
This was a wonderful post, loved hearing how one of your young students grew up to be on the board! Pictures are so great, love the young archer and use of leaves.
Thanks, Lydia! I keep coming back to look at it, I love the photos so much!
Forts always bring tears to my eyes. (Even when they end up in property fights in the JC later). Yesterday, as I was leaving school for an appointment, two little girls ran up to me and one said: “we are living the urban lifestyle! We have everything at our fort.. Are clover leaves edible?” How can I not be happy? As winter approaches, the little girl with the bow and arrow will stay in my mind. She is wonderfully fierce and vulnerable both. Thanks, Julia!
I know I’m REALLY late with seeing these pictures but this post is amazing! Forts were the most memorable part of my childhood with my two siblings. Seeing that over the years forts have remained a staple in Circle School active learning makes me feel as though we were doing SOMETHING right as kids. The creative similarities and differences between the boys and girls forts are awesome! And the “sword” fights are definitely exciting. I miss those days of being a kid. Keep these great posts coming Julia!
Our schools must be kindred spirits ……forts have always been important for the creativity and exploration of our students at School Around Us. In the early years of our school, students built tree forts that extended 20 feet (or more) upward into our tallest trees! (Removed in the 90’s due to insurance issues with them). The connections/life lessons made when you build and share forts, imagine, create, play and have conflict together around these creations are the memories and experiences of a lifetime. I fondly remember one creative fort that was so extensive that it even had a bathroom! Yes – – I understand it was used frequently by the “owners”.
Our students have many rules that they’ve created around forts during our all school meetings. This topic comes and goes as interest builds and wanes…..but we are always sure it will come back at some point!