Last week I received the rich opportunity to attend camp with the 3rd/4th graders. Our students at this level attend Camp Edwards in Wisconsin every fall and spring. They walk through the marshes, study pine forests, enjoy community meals and campfires, learn archery and climb rock walls. This camp experience was deeply and wonderfully Ancona; it was led by children.
As I observed, I noticed that students were out in front, ahead of their teachers, reinforcing how to conduct themselves at meals and discussing what great things one should do with free time. Even at mealtime and in cabins, it was clear that the 4th graders were modeling the expectations of this rich experience for 3rd graders. Our students took on roles of cleaning, setting tables, and hopping to get condiments with responsibility and zeal. Given the task of preparing for an evening presentation, three of them discussed past skits in an attempt to invent something even more unique and novel this time around. As they arrived closer to their own ideas, the higher their energy and investment rose.