One of the fundamental goals of a Montessori education is to teach our children how to live and work productively and peacefully within a community. That connectivity begins in the classroom, and then spreads outward to include the school, our local community and ultimately their place beyond. Our children often “go-out” into the local area to shop at stores, explore the landscape and support the needs of our neighbors. However, last week was all about bringing the community to Quest.
At Thursday’s official ribbon cutting for our beautiful new space, it was mentioned that the loan we received from the USDA was under the Community Facility program. What a perfect fit for how the Barn is being used. It serves not only our Quest school community, but is now a place where our extended community can gather.
Saturday was the first Coastal Growers’ Farmers Market of the season. The Barn was filled with vendors selling locally grown fruits and vegetables, aromatic coffee and baked goods, locally raised meats, t-shirts and towels screen printed right down the street from Quest, and so much more. Despite the rainy weather it was a resounding success, with a steady stream of customers coming throughout the morning. Sprinkled among the visitors were current families, recent graduates and a few families I haven’t seen since the very beginning of Quest. I had the wonderful opportunity to not only meet new people who had never heard of Quest, but also to greet former Quest families whose children graduated before we made it to our current home. They were so proud of how far Quest has come. Every single person I spoke with commented on, not only the beauty of our spaces, but also the overall positive energy in the building – something that we feel everyday.
Sunday brought an entirely different experience to the school. We welcomed Quakers from Conanicut Friends Meeting who will be holding their worship services in the Barn this winter. The hustle and bustle of the day before was completely forgotten as I was invited to join this small group of people for my first Quaker Meeting. Sitting completely still (something most of us rarely take the time to do), in the circle of sun that streamed through the windows, I had the opportunity to reflect on how this space we had built for own purpose has transformed our presence in our community. It quite literally gave me goosebumps. After the meeting, which was essentially 45 minute of sitting with our thoughts, the attendees could not have been more gracious in their thanks for allowing them to lease our space.
Both the Famers Market and the Friends Meeting will be occupying the Barn from now until May. I encourage everyone to take a Saturday or Sunday to come by and see how your school has become a hub of activity for the community at large. In the meantime, enjoy the video below that shows how we got here.