Gray Matters (March 2020)

More than just a Tagline: Explore, Engage, Connect

February 29, Leap Day, our quadrennial addition to the calendar got me thinking about time. I have long been fascinated by our perception of time. In particular, I am intrigued by the inherent contradiction: days and weeks can feel long, while, simultaneously, the years appear to speed by. The equation just does not add up!

I find our culture to be increasingly hard-driving and over-scheduled. Personally, I fall into the trap and often find myself thinking, “I need an extra day.” In the midst of our hectic lives, is Leap Day that gift? Unfortunately, I do not think so; our sense of time does not exactly work that way. I am not sure about you, but I certainly did not feel as if I was gifted an extra 24 hours this past week. The day-to-day pace very much felt the same and, despite the extra day this February, the month still felt rushed.

Thankfully, I see this primarily as an adult problem. I believe children experience time differently. In fact, we work hard at Capitol Hill Day School to create a learning environment that does not feel rushed. As educators, we make every effort to be a place that slows down the pace of childhood. Inherent in our mission and philosophy are several important commitments:

  • We have a deep commitment to play and believe that play and exploration, at all age levels, is the space where we do some of our most important learning.
  • Structure has value in school but so do moments of informality. We are committed to providing children with less structured times. An important component of this commitment is creating ample opportunities for children to be outdoors, running around with friends.
  • We make time for field education. Expanding the learning environment through field experiences is a fundamental element of our teaching and learning. We believe in committing time away from the traditional classroom and classroom lessons.
  • We study topics in depth, taking time to explore questions and address compelling problems. It is important to us not to rush learning and to allow the time to engage in extended projects. 

At Capitol Hill Day School, we focus on the vital childhood years, during which the most important learning occurs. We allow children to be children without feeling the pressure to grow up too fast, and we create an ideal environment in which they can navigate the sometimes turbulent transition to adolescence. We are a school for children—in the sense that children are our students, but also in the sense that we are unequivocally for children, advocates with their best interests at heart.

As we head into March - family conferences, spring break, high school decisions for our 8th Grade families - I hope you find some “slow” time to spend with your children.