Fourth, and final at least for now, in a series of guest posts from current and former parents of the Cooperative School. These were written as part of a fundraising campaign by our Development Committee. The posts are treasures, each one. This one was written by Rob Ferguson. He writes about his children's separate experiences at our school -- unique yet gave them a shared context.
"Lesley asked me to blog. I've made four different starts, all of them worthwhile things to say about TPCNS, the children, the teachers, the parents, and those little chairs that we were forced to sit in for one evening a month for too many years. After I write a paragraph, I throw it away and decide I wasn't meant to blog. But it is the school that won't take pause for an answer, so I start again, this time with some memory fragments.
My first visit to the bungalow school was in winter 2007 and Lesley talked excitedly about the student art, about the years-long thematic program. These were thesis projects by four year olds. How could parents not wish this for their child? We got in. We felt lucky and special.
School began with our little two-year-old diaper-clad son crying, his mouth scrunched up sad. We never tried the Hello, Goodbye Window; this was the end. Andrea let me stay until, two months later, I could go.
I loved and waited for the daily handover ritual, standing with a clot of parents while a line of little people rounded the corner, their stares fixed on the parking lot, scanning for the person picking them up. Giacomo would run on his chubby legs and not let go of me until we reached the car. Carry me, daddy. I can't write this without crying.
He did not speak much that first year, but he was understood. He played endlessly in the sand pit. He played in the sand year after year and I worried that he would turn out like me.
I learned that it is okay to cook the babies. I had never heard of Baba Yaga. I am still unable to sit crisscross-applesauce.
Giacomo grew to play Star Wars with Harry and was Bert to Ana's Mary Poppins. He does not remember the latter, but I do and I will keep it for him.
His little sister, Aurelia, followed him to school. She remembers most things.
She could not wait for me to leave. Daddy, go! One day she thought I had left. I happened upon her pulling contraband from her backpack.
She enjoyed her snacks very much. I am appreciative of all the new foods that parents introduced to her. She ate them slowly and laughed with her tablemates. She was often the last to finish. I am pretty sure her hand washing was a pretense.
By her third year, Aurelia had perfected a system by which she would bring things -- toys, catalogs, jewelry -- to school and loan them to kids outside. She would make her rounds, handing out here, playing there, and then collecting everything at the bell. Most adults never noticed. The sand pit was just one of her beats.
The school day was not long enough for Aurelia. Sometimes Giacomo would be there to pick her up and she would run to him. They would laugh together, sharing something only they knew."