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298 6th Avenue | Brooklyn, NY | 11215

Dear Brooklyn Free School Families, 

We are now at the mid point of our year.  Children have identified themselves as a “Jitterbug” or a “Dragonfly.” They know where to go when they go to enrichment, “downstairs to Gabi we go!” “one behind the other,” they chant as they take the stairs to her atelier. Pre-k kids in Sunshine or Rainbow may have begun to hear the words Kindergarten, or “big kid school.”  Something happens when we reach this point. It is as if our toes are pointed down a hill after taking the long climb upward. Time speeds up and we can’t believe how quickly milestones pass by. I want to take a moment to slow us down to enjoy this moment.

We bring Yoga in at this time, specifically to offer a moment of quietude to our children.  Breathe in, hold it, then breathe out. In this frenetic atmosphere of stimulation and devices, learning to pay attention to the silence and finding your body in space seem like priceless skills.  Winter days mean the focus is invariably drawn inward, toward warmth and shelter. And, yet, our focus is also looking out, aware that even during this hibernation we all continue to grow and change  Children continue to develop in the most obvious ways. Internally, they learn new skills, struggle to overcome challenges and ask new and more complex questions. Outwardly, their clothes get tighter and they need new sizes, naps begin to get shorter and taste buds develop, either accommodating new sensations or sharpening to identify distinct preferences.

Often, we say, this is part of life.  We are always moving and changing. Children do this too.  They put both arms out and say ”I’m a big kid now” and we may smile and nod, acknowledging this passage.  The child is looking forward to the next accomplishment, the next milestone. What we don’t realize is that by consistently looking forward, and valuing the next accomplishment,  we have less capacity to be in the moment, to explore what it is to be at this time, age, size, or understanding. Our photos show you these moments, a time stamp of the day. Sometimes, when we are lucky, we get a window into these moments when a child will tell us something they have noticed. The smoke from a rooftop across the street that brought the fire department, the Atelier sign on the upstairs entry instead of the downstairs (Abe, an alum, kept delightedly turning the sign over, as it no longer made sense), or the light of alphabet letters as they are projected on the wall (see Janka staring at the projected letters), enlarging the names of students into giant silhouettes.  As we stop to listen and share in these moments, they are embedded and become sense memories. These moments have the power to ground us and remind us why childhood perspective is so powerful.
As administrators and parents, we have just gone through our admissions season, which inherently looks toward the next year with excitement, promise and, perhaps, some trepidation. Children have a very different sense of time and what it means.  Two weeks can represent two years in their worlds. There is only before and now. The future is hazy, a promise unfulfilled. Let us take this time that we are given together and cherish it. Cherish the slowness of little legs trying to keep pace with longer ones, ideas that percolate up during bath time or moments of discovery where faces are suffused with joy.  Soon enough, things will change and the opportunity to share these moments will have passed onto something wonderful and new, and altogether different.

Medina Khalil

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Medina Khalil - Executive Educational Director | Mikia Eatman - Operations Director | Daniela Vancurova - Educational Assistant Director

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Brooklyn Free Space · 298 6th Avenue · Brooklyn, NY 11215 · USA

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