At the beginning of every school year we invite our children to bring their families and other loved ones to school for our Welcome Picnic. Our purpose is to build relationships. We do this because although we are called a school, we are engaged in more than the education of children, our goal is something greater: our goal is the creation of a mindful and just society. In other words, although we do teach a great deal, we also place emphasis on the connections between beings because we believe that the building blocks of a just and mindful society are relationships built on dignity and respect. This is our Great Work. It starts with each child as an individual immersed in a carefully prepared environment, and then continues as the child moves from a state of dependence to one of independence, from a world of my rug/my work to a world that is cooperative and dynamic. We start with each child as an individual and work towards the child as citizen. At EAC we do educate children, but even more importantly, we build community.
United Nations Day
On October 24th we celebrate the United Nations, an organization that brings together countries of diverse traditions and peoples to make peace. This year’s focus will be on immigration and the many ways folks have found their way to the US, including the impact colonialism had on the indigenous population. Middle School students visit the United Nations prior to our celebration and share their experiences with the rest of the School during our assembly.
The celebration continues in classrooms by honoring the diversity within our classroom community. Each Extended Day, Junior Level, Upper Level and Middle School student is asked to share a dish from a favored family tradition and are invited to share the dish with their classroom. Children are encouraged to share any pictures, artifacts and clothing that are important to your family traditions.
As the hour of noon approaches on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, older buddies gather younger buddies and make way to the multipurpose room for a feast. Each classroom has made a contribution to the feast by preparing enough of one dish to feed the whole school. Prior to dining, we clasp hands and sing, “Tis a Gift to be Simple Tis a Gift to be Free.”
Festival of Light
Students spend the days leading up to our Winter Break learning about a specific Festival of Light. They research a tradition that is either currently celebrated, or was at some point in history somewhere in the world. The day before we begin our vacation, everyone gathers in the multi-purpose room and each classroom presents what they have learned. This is a much loved event as magic abounds in the darkened room; the space is brightened only by the twinkle lights that are lit by children as they enter the space. Classrooms perform skits, sing songs, and create beautiful costumes and backdrops. We close by chanting our hope for the future: “We have come to shine our light, in the darkness of the night. Each of us is one small flame, but together we’re a blaze. Go away sickness and despair; go away and stay away.”
Ithaca Festival Parade
Every year current students, faculty and staff, parents and alum come together to march in the Ithaca Festival Parade. We are a marching band extraordinaire, complete with costumes and dancers. An especially fun community celebration that connects the old and the new, young and not-so-young…