(First sent twenty years ago after a moral education conference at Cambridge)
Walking along snowy cobbled pathways amid Tory houses on Brattle Street required time to seek footing without falling but yielded time for thought about the little world of Treetops which I had left behind me and to which I would return.
The AME Conference at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard had already confirmed that our small place had been doing—however imperfectly—what philosophers and educators were saying should be done with students.
Create a place, they said, where children can experience an environment in which children are responsible for themselves and for one another. Create a place where they can experience justice by practicing justice by making their time of living and learning together into a “just community”.
Ensure domestic tranquility, they said, by taking the relationships of CONCERN and CARING and CONNECTION nurtured from the home into the civic domain—and from the civic—into the whole world, into the planet itself! So that all persons everywhere might experience “A JUST COMMUNITY.” Think on that!
And so for us, and only with your help at home, where all such practice begins through daily life and interaction, we will continue to let Treetops be a place where children learn democracy and responsibility and morality because they live it daily—at your house and at ours!
Taking the time to care about each other, to express concern when things go wrong, to connect thoughts and actions and to cooperate in continuing to build a learning environment where each child may climb to the heights that are his or her own, but reach out to help others along the way.