I am two days into my Adolescent experience here in Cleveland, and what full days they were.
I reached Cleveland around 6:30 Sunday night, quickly delivered my belongings to my apartment (I am sharing an apartment on campus with three other girls) and then I headed off to a welcome/get your info party for the adolescent program trainees. There are quite a few of us- well over 50, and we hail from all over the world. One of my roommates is from the Philippines, and there are others from Mexico, Australia, Sweden, Columbia, New Zealand, Spain and India. We have met each morning together in carpool groups to head out to the farm, which is about an hour east. The ride over and back has been a great chance to get to know each other, as we spend the two hours chatting about our schools and our lives back home.
Once we reach the farm, then it has been straight to lecture. The last two days' lectures have really been for the benefit of those trainees who do not have much or any Montessori experience. I am surprised by the number of attendees who do not have previous Montessori training- those of us with a primary or elementary certificate are very few. We do have a few heads of schools looking to gain in knowledge of the adolescent age group, but most of our group seems to have been hired fairly recently by a school and then sent by that school to this training. Even though I am fairly familiar with the topics we have covered in our classes, it is still wonderful to hear all the philosophy again. David Kahn presented our opening lecture, and Jenny Hoglund and Laurie Ewert-Krocker have done some of the speaking, too. All three have been instrumental in the determining the path of and implementing the Erdkinder (what Montessori called the Adolescent program) here in America. There are lots of notes to take, and there is quite a bit of homework to do each night.
The Hershey Montessori School (the farm) is beautiful. It is far out into the countryside, surrounded by rolling hills and greenery. I have only gotten to go into two of the buildings so far: our lectures are taking place in the newest addition to the farm, and we meet in the community building for lunch. Lunch is prepared for us each day by some of the adolescent residents at the farm, along with a few adult helpers. After lunch, we meet in Socratic seminars to discuss our readings from the evening before, and then at the end of our day, we divide up for chores. My chores so far have been wiping tables and vacuuming. Next week will be my week to spend living at the farm. Then my chores will include care of the animals and the farm environment.
Our evenings back at the dorms have also been quite full. We ate dinner our first evening at the cafeteria, which was filling but not quite fulfilling :) Tonight we ventured up to Cleveland's own version of Little Italy, which happens to be only a few blocks from campus. There are many museums around our area, too, so tomorrow night we are going to check some of those out. Mostly though, we have been sorting through our lecture notes and doing lots of reading.
Speaking of reading, it's time for a few chapters in To Educate the Human Potential (my reading that is due for tomorrow) and then off to bed. Oh, there's also my daily journal left to write...