Recently, we have hosted a number of visitors at Jarrow, who’ve joined us both for special events and as prospective parents coming to tour. Again and again, there are comments about the stunning nature of our campus. And often those comments transcend the visual. Not only the grace of our classrooms, the architecture of our buildings and our splendid grounds inspire our guests, it’s the way it feels in our school.
In his poem Andrea del Sarto, Robert Browning coined the phrase “Less is More” in 1855. German architect Ludwig Mies van dear Rose used it as a catchphrase in his work explaining that important spaces “…should be constructed on their essentials, for extra trappings or additions only distract from clarity..”
As the coming days, and closing weeks at Jarrow will include heightened activity, more celebrations, gatherings, and events than other times of year, it’s a good time to embrace an active mindfulness for some of the deepest, simplest values we share at Jarrow. Dr. Montessori’s call to Education for Peace is of fundamental importance, as is her extraordinary vision for faith in our children.
Through Dr. Montessori’s work, we are reminded that she saw in the child a powerful being, a cosmic agent for peace in the world, one capable of the new and creative adaptations we need today. “An education capable of saving humanity is no small undertaking,” she said. “It involves the spiritual development of humans, the enhancement of our value as individuals, and the preparation of young people to understand the times in which they live.”
In order to develop fully as a community in support of the high minded vision and the call to contribute toward a better world, we must continue to name our deepest values and work together on behalf of them.
There has recently been talk among staff and Board about re-crafting Jarrow’s mission statement at some point in the future. What a great exercise for our community to ”hone our essentials” and more clearly craft a vision for our school’s unique place in the world.
Some believe the most profound mission statements are easily memorizable, not just because they are short but because they capture an essence, the heart of the matter. I propose we informally begin this conversation now, amidst the busyness and demands of the closing weeks of school; to allow our highest vision and hopes for Jarrow to simply become more and more obvious and present here among us.
Mary Zeman, Interim Head of School
On behalf of Mercedes Dugan, Associate Interim Head of School and our faculty and staff