February 16, 2012
Walden believes in questioning the status quo in a thoughtful way. Every day, we challenge our students to think for themselves because tomorrow’s leaders will need to be thoughtful, deliberate, and compassionate stewards of the world. Children are innately curious and ask a lot of questions. With limited life experiences, by virtue of being children, there is a void in information and history in a child’s knowledge base. Knowing that nature abhors a vacuum, Walden teachers begin and end each day in class circles, inviting questions and filling in the gaps in information for students. While the circle might look different from class to class, the idea is the same; give children a safe, consistent forum to get the answers they crave. By teaching children how to get the information that they seek, Walden students develop vocabulary and confidence in asking questions.
Director Matt Allio likes to tell visitors to Walden that our school wants students to go home at the end of each day with more questions than when they arrived:
“Asking questions simply means the child wants to learn more. They want to further and deepen their knowledge. The teacher prompts that sense of inquiry.”
Circle time is an important part of the child-led inquiry process. Whether sharing important news with peers, asking for clarification on the day’s schedule and expectations, or sparking a conversation about a new idea or concept, students at Walden have opportunity each day to come together collaboratively in their class circles.