Recently, at the Unitarian church I have started to attend, I sat in the pews and listened to a choir composed of older members sing "Imagine," John Lennon's famous song. I had not heard this song in a very long time, let alone sung live. It was an emotionally moving experience. Later that same day, I went to see Al Pacino's new movie, "Danny Collins." Fifteen minutes or so into the movie, the sound track played Lennon singing the same song. It was a beautiful coincidence. When I left the theater, I began to think about what I imagine or have imagined. My mind was quickly filled with photos I have taken and posted here. For the second time that day, I wept at the beauty of it all.
This past week, I sorted through those mental images. I remembered how often I had asked myself to "imagine" the infinite possibilities the Montessori method offers people of all ages and of diverse backgrounds. It was that act of visualizing one possibility at a time, combined with formulating a lesson, identifying the materials and then inviting a child or an elderly individual to sit and work with me (or a group of one or the other), which resulted in so much good work. It was a rare moment when someone declined. Yet, the vision of possibility was not complete until they engaged in it. They transformed it from a hope to a reality. Too, what I imagined became theirs and they made it more. Once I presented the lesson and provided the materials, I became the assistant and observer. From that place, I watched with wonderment and awe. Later, in the evening hours, I wrote about it.
Imagine toddlers given enough space to truly express themselves artistically.
Imagine other toddlers sewing - alone and collaboratively.
Imagine these same children designing, constructing and racing their own catamarans.
Imagine the elderly playing the Montessori bell game; quietly and carefully walking across the room and passing the bell to another.
Imagine them building with blocks that remind us Montessorians of the constructive triangles.
Imagine a child with high spectrum autism sewing a little, felt pouch.
Imagine that same child stopping on a walk to smell and feel the plants along the way.
Four more images hover in my mind and must be shared. I watched these moments, yet they were not planned or imagined by me. They came to be because each of the individuals photographed acted independently and/or creatively within a space that provided them the opportunity to do so.
A child with high spectrum autism learning to tie her shoes for the first time.
A young girl in one of my Primary classrooms pulling a chair over to the open door so as to sit and watch the rain. Then leaping up with her hand outstretched hoping to catch a drop or two.
A toddler sewing with such grace and beauty as to still one's heart.
"Everything you can image is real," Pablo Picasso.
I have much more to imagine...