The Circle School Blog

An occasional thing

The Circle School Blog

Forts & fights & thirty years

Forts & fights & thirty years

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...

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Over Exposure

Over Exposure

“But how will my child know what she’s interested in if she never gets exposed to it?” This question has been addressed many times before, but I woke up this morning thinking about it, so here are my thoughts today. Underlying this question is an assumption: “It is my...

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Wedding democracy

Wedding democracy

I don't know whether to call it democratic, or maybe crowd-sourced. Either way, I have never experienced a wedding as I did on Saturday. Well, yes, I was the father of the bride, and so, no, I don't see it through clear eyes, what with love and tears and all. But,...

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Seven sins of forced education

Seven sins of forced education

  "Children are biologically predisposed to take charge of their own education." So says psychologist Peter Gray in his recent new book, Free To Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for...

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Another note about test scores

Peter Gray's latest post over at Psychology Today, Be Glad for Our Failure to Catch Up with China in Education, reminds me of this post Jim wrote here back in October. Both make the pretty commonsense point that standardized test scores are probably not a great...

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A view from a new family

A new-to-The-Circle-School mom wrote a post on her blog about their journey from Kansas City to Harrisburg and The Circle School, and some of her observations and experiences of the school. I found it interesting, and even learned some things (did you know we have...

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Weaving justice

Weaving justice

Last night our judicial team demonstrated for the school community how the wheels of justice go 'round at The Circle School. Simulating what we do every day, they investigated complaints of law-breaking—real cases from a few years ago, with names changed. The...

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Agency, attention, mistakes, and school

Agency, attention, mistakes, and school

Agency is the capacity to choose and act on your own behalf, and may be a hallmark of life. A rock just sits there, but living creatures can do things, can take actions. Even bacteria detect and move towards nutrients, making choices and taking action in a primitive...

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Agency, attention, mistakes, and school

The benefits of play

Play is a hot topic these days, and every article I read on the subject reinforces for me the "rightness" of the Circle School experience. Here's an article about the benefits of play, both social and "academic." Enjoy. 🙂 -Julia

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Growing

The nice man is just trying to be friendly.  “So you two girls go to The Circle School…What’s your favorite subject?” The young girls are a little nonplussed.  “We only take classes if we want to.” “Oh. Well what do you do at school, if you’re not in classes?”...

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Infinity and the backyard bell tower

Infinity and the backyard bell tower

Nature impels us to avoid death and seek infinity. Call the first a biological imperative and the second a spiritual imperative. The first is the survival instinct. Maslow's hierarchy of needs suggests you must satisfy the first before you can do much about the...

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Washington gridlock and democratic schools

Tomorrow we Americans elect a president. Two days ago we Circle Schoolers hosted a group of families and educators here, telling them about life in our democratic school. Now I'm thinking about the connection between Washington gridlock and American schools. About...

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Low Test Scores Are Not The Problem

Of course all this talk of assessment and global competition treats children as raw materials in a government-run factory, rather than human beings with their own hopes, interests, and talents. Education policy should be centered on children and families, not money and power. Public funding should promote innovation and variety in schools, rather than uniformity and standards. It's good for children, families, society and, yes, a thriving global economy.
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Staying Calm

I was glad to come across this article reminding me how helpful it is to stay calm when interacting with others, especially when it is most difficult to do so! Re-framing my thinking to make it easier to remember others are not intentionally out to annoy me, but often...

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Freedom & creativity

I don't have a lot to say about this article by Peter Gray except to recommend it. Dr Gray cites studies indicating that creativity is one of the most-desired qualities in potential employees, and recent research indicating that creativity is declining in American...

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A Regular Person

A few days ago I experienced my 29th first-day-of-school at The Circle School, and I imagined what a child's first first day might be like... It's your first day at The Circle School and you are Alice down the rabbit hole. You are in a strange new world: fascinating,...

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How Children Succeed

How Children Succeed

I heard most of this radio interview the other morning, with Paul Tough, author of How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character, and I was thinking of The Circle School the entire time.  I wonder if Paul Tough has heard of what we do here; I...

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A new blog, & a disclaimer

For years, I've wished The Circle School had a blog -- a place staff (and students!) could post articles they found interesting, thoughts about the school and education in general, and maybe even lovely pictures of life here. But...obstacles abound. A blog is a lot of...

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