“The environment itself will teach the child.” Maria Montessori
So much of what a child learns comes from their environment. Children observe their classroom and learn to distinguish things that are working to help them and their community, and those that are not. Then, they take charge.
In LE3, there is a Community meeting every Wednesday at the end of the day. When a child observes something that s/he considers needs to be brought to the community’s attention, s/he writes it down in our Community Meeting Log. On Wednesdays, the elders decide which issue the community will be addressing that week and they lead their classmates in a meeting structured in three parts. First they discuss the issue, then they propose solutions, and last they vote for what solution to implement. The children take turns to raise their concerns and to explain their suggested solutions. The elders fulfill the roles of facilitator, time keeper, and scribe, making sure that everyone listen to whoever has the floor at the time and that anyone, who wants to, expresses their opinion.
Our children are involved in a democratic process, where their voices are heard and where they are empowered to make changes for the good of their classroom community. They notice the problems, design solutions and implement them. The elders are practicing their leadership abilities and modeling them for the younger children. Every Wednesday for about half an hour they are practicing how to solve problems in peace.