Secure the Cabin
“Boys and girls, welcome aboard flight 1932, your specially-chartered flight to London, England where you will begin your journey of studying one of the oldest Western cultures and culminate it with your attendance at a high tea hosted by royalty. You are part of the tenth annual trip, one that had its inaugural flight before you were born!”
After going through the normal pre-flight instructions to fasten seat belts and place seats and tray tables in full and upright positions, Captain Volker and flight attendants Southworth and Robinson prepared the cabin for departure. In the air, passengers were encouraged to look at the sights just outside the cabin windows. The Great Basin, the Rocky Mountains, the Great Plains, and the Appalachians were observed and described in detail. For example, students were told that the Rockies were new mountains less affected by erosion, whereas their eastern counterparts had been subjected to the ravages of time and were now smooth and worn. All the while, Captain Volker kept a close watch on altimeters and odometers drawn on the back of paper plates that had been affixed to the world map being viewed by all.
What greeted the Captain’s request of the La Mesa kindergartners to look out the right side of the cabin at the New York City skyline was a collective response similar to what can be heard at the finale of a grand fireworks display – “OOOHH-AHHHHH!”
What makes this most gratifying as an educator is the fact that the pictures being viewed by the students were 11X17 glossies held up by the “flight attendants”. They were not digitally produced, projected by an “Elmo”, or graphically designed. Yet, their simple display, coupled with the ability of a 5- year-old to imagine and pretend, produced extraordinary results. All of which reinforces our consistent goal to keep the windows of the mind open – not to mention that no child on Earth should miss the Warren-Walker kindergarten experience!
I’m not sure what was more heartwarming, the actual experience, emerging from the classroom to pin “wings” on each of the students, or the fourth and fifth graders passing by going to recess and upon seeing the Headmaster in his uniform saying, “Dude, remember that flight, it was awesome!”
That’s why we’ll keep on teaching the way we do, and that’s why I’ll keep flying. In fact, I’m looking forward more than ever to the 25th annual flight to England when the Point Loma kindergarten flies to this fascinating country on December 9th.
“Secure the Cabin!”
Tuesday December, 3, 2013
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