So it’s March 2016, 18 children are inaugurating the school on our very first day of school.
The press is there, the television, the radio, the local newspaper.
It is an event.
We are interviewed. We are proud, and we are enthusiastic.
We went through so many difficulties with ease. Finding a place, bringing it up to standard, getting the authorisations and approvals, taking part in events to make ourselves known, raising funds through crowdfunding, recruiting families and a small team to accompany the children on a daily basis… Easy!
If we had known what was in store for us, we would probably have been a little less ecstatic.
This first year was chaos! And we won’t have the necessary hindsight for a long time to understand why and how we could have saved ourselves a lot of disappointment in this adventure. So rather than unravel the first year, I’ll start by sharing what I learned from four chaotic years of school. And everything that has allowed me to reopen a school in 2021, with much more clarity and wisdom (even though I am not yet the Dalai Lama).
I AM my school
Freedom, autonomy, benevolence, nature, respect… are magnificent universal values. But can they alone allow a small school to flourish, to find its balance, to guide decision-making and communication?
These values are my beacon. But if I leave it at that, the lighthouse stays off.
No worries when it’s daytime and the sea is calm. But when it’s dark, when it’s dark, when you can’t see the stars, there’s a great risk that I’ll run aground, and it’s very scary.
And this light, the one that allows me to have clarity in everything I do, when everything is going well, but also when there is a storm, is my personal values.
This is one of the great lessons I have learned.
As a founder, I have to put myself at the centre of all thoughts and attention from the very beginning, in order to become aware of my own value system.
To create a tailor-made school, where the whole environment, my timetable, my place in the school, the families and the members of my team that I recruit, reflect these values.
They will become my guide to defining a mission and building a coherent, sustainable and inspiring culture for the children, parents and anyone who joins the team.
It will also allow me to be fulfilled and full of energy, and to spread and infuse this well-being to the children.
Today I know that it nourishes me :
- reserving quality time with my family,
- living in a beautiful and comfortable environment,
- training and researching to develop and share innovative solutions to support people’s dreams,
- preserving and valuing the impulses of childhood,
- having creative activities,
- living new adventures
So with every proposal, every decision I want to make, I ask myself: Is this aligned with my values? And it helps my school to flourish along with me.
“Aligning our values, our actions and our words is perhaps the most difficult challenge we face. It is also perhaps the greatest opportunity we have to live fully and authentically.” Anna Quindlen.