One of the many great things about studying salt this arc is that it lends so much to the study of food! And when Brightworks studies food, we don’t just read about it; we have to make it.
The Rubber Band and the Phantoms headed to Rainbow Grocery to pick up supplies for making sauerkraut.
The Sand Leopards dove into culinary arts and made lunch for the school. They chose dishes where salt was an ingredient and used samples from the Salt Museum to add different salty flavors to the food.
Taking eight kids through cooking lunch for forty people is, in a word, challenging. Lili deftly guided her band through a chopping, popping menu that was gluten, vegan, and dairy free (except the cake). No matter how simple the menu, kids are distract-able and distracted, especially when the chopping takes too long and small arms get tired! Nevertheless, lunch was beautiful and delicious and a great experience for the Sand Leopards – and the rest of the community lunch eaters.
Starting a school is messy, as you have undoubtedly witnessed this last year on our blog. It is easy to notice the actual messes: construction dust, sandy shoes, dirty lunch dishes, half-sunburned faces due to hastily-applied sunscreen en route to the beach. The really messy areas at Brightworks, though, sometimes are where you least expected them to be.
We think a lot about food in the Brightworks community. Our families’ belief systems regarding food are very diverse, but all of our school’s families are thoughtful about the food they serve their kids. That care is expressed in different ways: some put a lot of thought into where their food comes from; if it is organic, bio-dynamic, sustainable. Some make careful decisions about where to shop, mindful of the political and environmental implications of where food comes from. Some families serve food that has provided comfort, familiarity, and love throughout generations of their family, but are willing to bend a few rules to maintain those traditions. Some must prioritize food lower in their family budget and focus on value, and preserve family funds for other priorities.
Today eight of our oldest students made lunch for the school, beginning new traditions of service to the school community and thinking of the needs of others. Throughout the week, they divided the jobs, planned the menu, altered the menu to accommodate dietary needs, and created an aesthetic plan for the tables. As the first band to prepare a community lunch this year, they did an amazing job of meeting the needs of the community.
When I was sent on an emergency run to the store this morning for last minute ingredients for the students, though, the shopping list written by these excited children included vast quantities of rainbow sherbet.
This is where Brightworks got messy, today. Aside from the state of the kitchen (out of control, fyi), it is these messy heart-and-mind moments that paralyze us at Brightworks from time to time…these decisions between adult values and child-led moments. Do we as a school community support low-quality, fake neon-colored rainbow sherbet in a plastic bucket? No. Do we support empowered kids to show their love for their community in ways that they all agreed would make everyone happy, given the guidelines (or lack of guidelines) they had? Yes. I paused, but I bought the sherbet.
At lunch, the other kids devoured the chicken and sausage stew, biscuits, and salad lunch that the band had prepared for them. When the dessert course began, however, excitement at Brightworks reached a new fevered pitch. Oh, the colors! And the handy plastic bucket it arrived in! The ingredient list that contained so many mysteries! New student (and aesthetically gifted) Thea garnished each small scoop with a raspberry, and we sent the sherbet out to the students (and plain raspberries to some.) The oldest band served dessert and began clean-up while the younger three bands devoured their curious treat.
There will be another time for teaching these students about the food their put into their bodies, and the choices we make as food consumers. That day will be messy too, as some children may hear from others at the school that the food they are served (and love) at home is sometimes looked down upon by other student’s families. Those are important conversations to have, and we relish these tricky moments to discuss diversity, belief systems, differing family cultures and traditions, and sensitivity towards those who are different in so many ever-evolving ways.
But for today, the scales tipped away from the importance of food education, and towards the importance of honoring these students’ gift to us, their pride in making choices, and enjoying a school community’s unbridled excitement at being offered a dessert which is both strangely fake, and oddly beautiful.
Everything is interesting. Check.
Moderation in everything. Check.
The kids went to Glen Park Canyon today for some adventuring and a reset after a long week of work. Plus it was Halloween. Can’t ask for much concentration on Halloween.
When they got back to school, we had a small gathering for Halloween, and everyone went home tired after a day of hiking and adventuring.
Tomorrow: our new arc begins! (Drum roll please…) It’s called By Hand and we’ll be exploring all kinds of hand-related work, experiences, activities, and things you make with your hands. We have a beautiful lineup of experts, excursions, and experiments. Get ready for some handy work!
Friday is always a day of exhaustion, no matter where you go to school or where you work or where you spend your days. The kids put on a great party tonight, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t a hard day of working and trying to focus after a long week of projects.
There was some more making-up.
Preparing the bungee…
…and the coffins.
Making food for the Creepy Cinchin (Kitchen).
Helping Kristie make hot lunch.
Finagling the game station.
Kristie’s hot lunch! It was incredible.
Lola says, “I’m the old lady from the town who knows everything.”
When the party started, the kids led their parents and other grown-ups through the living exhibits of the Brightworks Halloween.
Past the graveyard…
And the guillotine…
Through the spider cave…
To being scared by the Connor-sized spider…
And creepy children in the haunted pumpkin patch.
…then becoming zombie-fied.
And maybe grabbing something to eat on the way.
…before playing eye-tossing and spinning games.
Zombies come to life in the graveyard!
What a great night.
I think everyone’s really excited to see what this little Experiment can do for the kids and the structure of the school in general. Working in small groups has always been Gever’s goal in the 6:1 student-teacher ratio, and the opportunity to explore that this week will, I know, lead to better practices when the kids work on their projects. We, the staff and the kids, are all so lucky to be able to learn on-the-job at this school – a failure-positive place where we can always take a step back and change our behavior to fit the situation. It’s all an experiment, and one day we could get it right… but that just means we’ve stopped thinking and have more work to do!
Happy pre-Halloween, and thanks to those who were able to make it to the school tonight! It’s always a treat to see how much we have support in the world.