Kids are fascinating creatures. They are perplexing and curious, bewildering and bewitching. Frequently, when I document a conversation or an event, I look back at it and think: “What was that all about?” It’s often not immediately clear; it may never be clear.
Yesterday, when we went into the greenspace, N.I. perched himself in the little rock alcove that they’ve all decided is their chair.
M.P. said: “It’s the chair of high-y-nest.”
I thought at first he meant “highness” – like a throne for a king.
But when I asked him what he meant he told me “it’s because the rocks are high.”
Then, as we continued our walk, the children started to push their way through a dense patch of bush near the back of the property. They said to each other: ” We’re going to the camp high-y-nest in the high-y-nest city.”
I’m standing there thinking: “Like hyenas? Does this have something to do with Africa? The Jungle?”
Then we got to the edge of the bush and a white dog dashed out and started barking at us. His exuberance was met with a solemn: “Look, Madame, we found a high-y-nest dog.”
Of course you did.
At this point, I probably looked a lot like a confused dog with my head cocked to one side and a perplexed look on my face.
Now, if there’s one thing that I wish I could change about school in the interest of furthering inquiry, it would be to remove the schedule. I wish we could eat when we’re hungry, go outside when we like, and stay out as long as we want. But, that’s not the reality of busing and contracts and bells. Part of my perplexedness (it’s really a word – I checked) is because I can’t always stay with something as long as I would like to, as long as the kids probably needed to in order to develop this high-y-nest narrative to the point where it might have made sense to me (maybe it never would). It was time to go in so we trooped back towards the school, with the world of high-y-nest remaining mysteriously elusive, at least for the adult among us.
PS: If you ever want to read a great story about ditching the schedule (and more), check out William Ayers’ To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher – fabulous book.