Apricot Muffins to Share

The first time I brought apricot muffins into the staff room to share, a few people found them surprising. I hadn’t realized that apricot was an unusual muffin ingredient – I’d been making them for years. The next time there was an occasion to bake, I was asked to make them again. I eventually shared the recipe with the group. And some time later, I found out that some of my co-workers had made the muffins too and were taking them along to gatherings with their friends and family. To my surprise, I had triggered a blossoming appreciation and demand for apricot muffins, a treat that I had always taken for granted.

Independent schooling, the enrichment that we call “extraordinary education” at Touchstone, is kind of like these apricot muffins.  Banana, blueberry, even chocolate chip muffins are all fine, (even delicious sometimes), but rarely do they give you a thrill of unexpected delight.  Similarly, when it comes to schooling (the most bread-and-butter ritual of family life), aren’t most families stuck in the routine of the ordinary? Parents just assume that the “same old, same old” is all they should expect. Until someone offers something made from a unique recipe with some unusual ingredients, do families know what they are missing?

Here at Touchstone, we’re accustomed to the extraordinary. There are so many unexpected delights that kids and their parents discover as the days and weeks go by during a school year.

Delights like the teachers who are always happy to make the time to talk about little things that worry you as a parent. Surprises like a Principal who knows the names of everyone in your family, takes note when you tell her about your busy week, and makes sure your children feel a little extra TLC that day.

Unexpected delight happens when your kids can’t wait to get to school, not just to see their friends, but to get working on a classroom project that has them all fired up to learn.

You feel the surprise when your five year old can tell you more about the migratory patterns of the Monarch butterfly than you knew yourself.

Unexpected delight happens when you realize that the field trip that the teacher organized for your child and her classmates tied together multiple learning objectives that have been pursued through weeks of thoughtful cross-curricular lesson planning.

You feel the surprise when a teacher sends home a beautiful poem that your seven year old composed after a hike through the woods during her literacy hour.

There is so much more to teaching and learning than the ordinary fare that is generally presented to families as the acceptable standard for schooling! When there are apricot muffins on the plate, why would anyone keep on eating the same old stuff?  Ignorance is bliss, they say, but once you’ve actually sampled the extraordinary, you understand how much you were missing all along.

At Touchstone, extraordinary is our mission; it’s on our staff meeting agenda every week; it’s baked right into our everyday classroom routines.  We’ve grown so accustomed to providing learning experiences that go beyond expectations, that we are sometimes taken aback when our students’ families express their surprise and delight.

Posted in on October 1, 2019