Posted by: csdailyblog | September 5, 2012

Serving the Conserve Community: Dining Room Duty

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As much as possible, we keep students at Conserve School engaged in work that is useful and has meaning beyond the classroom walls. Whether it’s building trails for future generations of students to enjoy, digging up potatoes for tomorrow’s lunch, or writing letters to the editor about a local environmental controversy (we’ve got lots of them: wolves, mining, ATVs …), we know that adolescents, just like full-grown adults, prefer real work to manufactured exercises.

That’s not to say that all real work is loads of fun or intrinsically interesting. For example — one of the tasks students take care of at Conserve School is kitchen and dining room duty, no one’s favorite assignment. As they say, though, many hands make light work. Even routine household duties can be fun when you’re doing them with friends.

Routine maintenance tasks also provide many teachable moments, from discussions of character traits like kindness and loyalty (do you duck out early or stick with your team until the task is completley done?) to pointers on fine motor skills (what’s the best way to hold a paring knife if you’re trying to peel an apple safely and quickly?). As students take care of tasks around campus, they learn all sorts of useful skills, some of which are becoming lost arts due to our busy-busy-busy lifestyles. In the course of a Conserve School semester, we teach students simple household skills that many are completely unfamiliar with — for example, how to sanitize kitchen sinks and counters, how to wipe down tables without dumping crumbs on the floor (I am not exaggerating!), how to use a dust pan and broom, and how to operate (or even recognize) a carpet sweeper.

We actually have a good time discussing and taking care of these simple things together!

~Mary Anna Thornton, Assistant Head of School

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Responses

  1. i call these “life skills” 🙂


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