Like their counterparts at other schools, Fairhaven’s students get excited when it snows. Here the similarity ends, for our students can act on their excitement and go outside! So it was this week.
After one snow day at home, Fairhaveners returned, many with snow suits, gloves and sleds. The boy with the orange parka and the faux fur hat- as he said, looking like the sniper Zaitsev in the movie “Enemy at the Gates”- searched the campus for suitable sledding inclines. Three girls spent hours doing the same, leaving telltale trails surrounding the building. More adventurous students tested the steep grade in the woods by the rope swing in the forest, returning for lunch red-cheeked, making a run on a student vendor’s hot chocolate. A few snowmen appeared; some were destroyed. Many older students also played outside, responding to their environment instantaneously.
Why is their liberty to play noteworthy? Aren’t they just playing? Responsiveness defines Fairhaven’s students. They act upon their interests. They learn from their actions, incorporating the ongoing effects into their next actions. (Bare feet in snow? Not the best idea. Ditto snowball fights that lead to Judicial Committee grievances. Play all day outdoors? Odds are you’ll sleep well.) Masters of their destinies, whether playing in the snow or opting to read in the Quiet Room, spend time on computers, wage the latest Dungeons and Dragons campaign with your friends, or attend Social Justice or photography classes (to name just a few examples from this snow day), every day our students generate the ultimate experiences of cause and effect.
Is there a better preparation for life? In this current economic climate, in this post-modern, information age, young people must have experience responding to changes. They must understand the twin edges of freedom and responsibility by living with them. By playing with them. Adapt and thrive. Just down the road and all over the metropolitan area, cooped up students in traditional schools could only gaze out the window at the first real snow accumulation in years, daydreaming of the possibilities.
A colleague sent “Zaitsev” out to shoot photographs for the yearbook. A young man on a mission, he crossed into the woods, looking for just the right shot, hoping to record yet another example of what we at Fairhaven School like to call free minds in action.