July 2017

Although school doesn't start until next month, there is a lot going on to get ready.  I'm having a blast organizing centers for rotations, sifting through re-sale shops for books, and thinking through all the details.  I can hardly sleep and you can hardly walk through my kindergarten-filled-dining room.  My to-do list seems alive as it grows with ideas. The clock is ticking; kindergarten will be here before you know it!

This school has been on my radar for over two years.  However, it has been on the hearts and in the prayers of many people for more than that.  So, when our doors open to a little group of kiddos in a few weeks, we will be ushered in by a great wealth of love and fervent prayer.  We are starting with just a few students, but I'm confident that the Lord has brought them to us.  I can't wait to see what He has in store for their hearts and mine.  Did I mention that they are all girls?  A little gaggle of giggles.  Sigh... I can't wait.

If you're in the area, we'd love for you to join us in celebrating the doors God is opening. Join us for our Convocation on Sunday, August 6th at 5 pm in the Historic Sanctuary of Mineral Baptist Church as we dedicate the school and the children - both ours now and ours to come, to the Lord and for His glory.

Save the dates for our August Events:
August 1st and 3rd: 
Parent/Guardian Informational Gathering 6pm 
August 5th:
Volunteers Luncheon and Informational Gathering 12pm
August 6th:
Convocation 5pm
August 7th:
Meet the Teacher Day! 1-7pm
August 9th:

My father-in-law worked for a company in Richmond which helped build Mineral Baptist Church where our school is located.  He passed away before I met my husband in Texas.  So, the thought of being in this classroom, the floor plans of which his fingers might have passed over, is breath-taking to me.  That, mixed with the dreams and God-given-stirring of the desire to teach well, is overwhelming.  But, what makes it a sacred space, is what I believe God is going to do.  I believe He is going to create a place of worship, wonder, and wisdom.

So, our walls are green.  The soft grey green of moss at dusk.  The green of contemplation and growth.  OK.  Fine.  The paint was free.  But, at first, I wasn't so sure about it.  But, now, I've come to love it.

Scholé in Greek, is the where we find the roots of the English word school.  It is the word for leisure. Until recently in the scope of humanity, school has been only a resource for the extreme wealthy and privileged... those who had leisure time.

I've been thinking through this with the help of Dr. Christopher Perrin who believes we need to teach from a point of rest... to educate from a since of leisure rather than pressure... teaching in calm rhythms which allows truth, beauty, and goodness to flourish.

At first, I agreed to one green wall, but then, as I've thought through and prayed through what I want my classroom to be - I added a second green wall.  Then a third.  And then it all.

I want my classroom to feel like a magical forest of learning and thought.  Each detail - from the color of the baskets, to what is on the wall - has a purpose of directing thought and observation. Look over here: a nest.  Over there: a shell.  Right beside you: a book of beautiful paintings. Not a circus of dazzling colors - but a calm place to see and discover.

We will dance.  And we will sing.  We will jump and explore.  We will be quiet and still.  No matter what we are doing, the walls will speak.  They will tell us to slow down.  Don't be in such a rush. Take time to be alive, and take a breath to soak it all in.

Some moments, the task seems too big - starting from scratch.  I'm OK as long as it's on my to-do list. The unknown things are the ones that make my breath quicken.  What am I forgetting?  What needs to be done that I haven't even thought about.

The school-board is working on their end.  But as for staff, that's me.  Only me.  So, let me think of how to be the nurse-secretary-librarian-coach while I teach Latin, music, math, and science while teaching kids to read. Let me think of how to be wise with money and wise with time.  I am eating it up.  Having the time of my life.  But, there are moments when I forget that I'm just a tiny part - that it's not all about me and what I can do or get done.

I bought a clear box of ribbons at the Goodwill store. My girls will love this, I thought.  Swirling ribbons for swirling girls.  I could see the box had a few craft supplies, but it was wrapped in plastic, so I couldn't see all that it might hold.  I felt like a treasure box was sitting next to me on the way home and so I opened it as soon as I could.

Ribbons.  Perfect for our week on colors.  And our week on textures.  And for rainy days when recess means we can make whatever.

I was delighted.  But, what brought tears to my eyes, were two shiny metal things at the bottom. Hole punches.  Two hole punches.

When I left my classroom in Haiti, I left all my goodies behind.  Even when I left my classroom in Texas, everything stayed there.  So, I'm really starting-from-scratch... not only with writing curriculum but with all the tangibles.  I've spent countless hours at garage sales, re-sale shops, the Dollar Tree.  I've been handed boxes from retired teacher-friends and retired teacher-strangers.

And then I made a list... a list of things that would be helpful. And on that list was a hole punch.  One.

And here, without me even knowing it - the Lord snuck in two.

I ache with the comfort that God knows what I need.  And that He knows what our little school in Mineral, Virginia needs.  And that He knows what each of our children need.

And I ache with joy that sometimes He gives more.

...on a side note - but a very important one... That green classroom?  I didn't have to do it. That is not in my skill set and I would have ended up in tears of frustration.  So, thank you to all of you who did volunteer to paint.  It is yet another reminder that we are all in this together... It is part of the MORE.

April Sumner is the Kindergarten Teacher at Mineral Christian School in Mineral, Virginia. 


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