Inspired experience based college preparatory education for creative and intellectually curious students
Early childhood through twelfth grade

It seems slightly obvious to say something about how important the concept of “community” is at a school. School, ideally, is a series of various interacting communities: parent, teacher, class, campus. Nothing groundbreaking here. But, see, we’re not talking just school, we’re talking Waverly. And as you might have experienced in your time here, we’re a little…different. I can’t even say why, exactly. It’s just there, that feeling.

OK, backtrack. I’m a yoga teacher, a meditation teacher, a tiny entrepreneur whose work is nothing if not based on gathering, individuals coming together to create a collective. The Sanskrit word sangha is my sacred word, if there is such a thing; if that doesn’t make me sound too hippie 3.0. Thich Nhat Hanh, monk and activist, defines sangha as a “beloved community.”

Beloved. That’s the kicker. We can have communities all we want, but beloved? Boom.

Part of my job, which in the classic Waverly Way defies any sort of definition, is coming to the elementary school at what feels like the crack of dawn to hang out with the early students. I tend to perch atop the dome on the playground for vantage point reasons, and I get to see all kinds of morning feels:  children bursting through the gate with uncontained energy, or droopy and sleepy-bodied, or already deep into a book, or gripping an adult hand, a little vulnerable. Always I see eyes, widening, searching, reaching out for someone or something familiar.

Waverly is a small shop. Familiar is readily available to anyone at any time. Heidi, famously, knows the name of each and every student (or…seems to. In my sixteen years here I have never once witnessed anything different). I can be in the bathroom stall and hear “HI MEG!” because everyone knows my shoes.  The same kids climb up the dome to sit with me in the morning and we have our own special language. Eyes meet. Greetings exchanged. Hands held. Jokes told. Games played. Buckets filled.

The thing about the morning is the new thing. The start of something. Fresh take. Infinite opportunity. Inhale exhale. Wide open heart. Children looking at, seeking out others in their friend group, class, community, for those few moments of undefined, beloved togetherness. We know each other. We talk and we listen. We might stay quiet. We keep each other safe. From my perch, my own morning start gaze, that tiny time before the bell rings, that vital time, the rise of the day’s sangha, is the thing. The Waverly thing.

Meg Bradbury
Assistant to the Head of School and other stuff

 

 

{ 0 comments }

When I came to Waverly for the first time five years ago, it was the last prospective school on my long tour list. I didn’t know what to call what I was looking for exactly at these highly varied campuses for my two daughters, so I toured as many schools as I could. It was quickly clear there were different educational philosophies to understand and to gather as much of this data as possible to make a “perfect decision.” I’ll admit I was tired by the time I toured Waverly. My mind was laden with the details of the other schools but I was determined to compare and contrast to the utmost degree, of course!

Looking for parking before the Waverly tour undermined my enthusiasm. Upon approach via the sidewalk, the building itself made me pause: was it originally like an office or something? Wonderful Vella greeting me at the front desk put me at ease but I became perturbed during the walk to the community room, was this fluorescent lighting in the halls? In the community room too? Wait, was this a commercial drop ceiling? I sipped the free coffee (delicious, thank you) feeling unsettled. I was not sure what to make of the surroundings.

All this to say, I left that day knowing we would absolutely apply and that the lighting was a sign that Waverly was the DIY-esque school I didn’t know I was hoping to find.

Every year since that tour, the Waverly elementary school has improved. The art room has doubled, the playground renovated, new staff offices built out of seemingly negative spaces (!), the library re-arranged and the collection completely revamped and cataloged, classrooms re-imagined, shared spaces made more efficient, and the list goes on. The school gleans what works and what it needs from year to year. It is evolving. It is not a turn-key school and thank heavens for it! The “me” of five years ago would be confused by this statement. Yes, the fluorescent lights still shine down upon us but just wait and see.

Katie Taylor
Mother of Johana (2nd) and Camille (4th)

Not Your Average Holiday Show

December 18, 2018

For parents who remember participating in their own school holiday shows (which consisted of the class standing in a line, wearing Santa hats and singing a Christmas song), the Waverly holiday show will be an especially wonderful surprise. The original show was held at the little theater at Farnsworth Park. Each teacher put together their […]

Read the full article →

To All The Toys I’ve Ever Loved Before

December 6, 2018

I have loved quite a few toys in my life. A favorite recurring dream takes me back to my childhood home to find an entire floor of the house filled to the ceiling with toys and games of every kind. There are dolls and board games and Yo-yos and Hula Hoops, Easy-Bake Ovens and Thingmakers, […]

Read the full article →

Juniors Give Thanks

November 16, 2018

Next week is Thanksgiving and I have a story to share. Every Wednesday the junior class and I gather together for Wellness. Junior Wellness is centered around a discussion of what it is they believe, and some Waverly faculty and staff come in to share their own beliefs in an essay of 500 words or […]

Read the full article →

I Believe in the Gift of Failure

October 26, 2018

As a science educator, I begin each year by giving my students explicit permission to fail, and explaining to them that failure is part of the game in science. As sci-fi author Isaac Asimov wrote, “The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not ‘Eureka!’ but rather, ‘hmm… […]

Read the full article →

Waverly Alumna Moves Food Forward

October 12, 2018

Dory Bennett, Class of 2012, visited First Friday on October 5 to introduce parents to Food Forward, the non-profit organization where she now works. During Dory’s presentation we learned that Food Forward fights hunger and prevents food waste by harvesting fresh produce from backyard fruit trees and orchards and gathering donations from farmers markets and […]

Read the full article →

We Shall Overcome

October 5, 2018

What I love most about my role here at Waverly is having the opportunity to teach on all three campuses. Mornings with thoughtful ninth graders give way to afternoons with inquisitive elementary school students, and on Fridays after spending time with middle school students I have the chance to participate in All School Meeting. (And […]

Read the full article →

Reading as Social Justice

September 28, 2018

In the first weeks of school, I like to wander. Especially in the early weeks of classes, I am eager to learn about the students and the plans Waverly teachers have for them.  It is also exciting to see the individual arrangement of materials and the orientation of each classroom.  This year, I noticed a […]

Read the full article →

New Year Rituals

September 14, 2018

My new year always begins in September. I find I am more likely to set personal and professional goals at this time each year.  I enjoy rituals and find the school year is a good time to establish them. At the end of August, I make plans for healthier, more eco-friendly lunches, and announce to […]

Read the full article →