“The Gentle Art of Parenting.” As a mom of two toddlers, that sounded like the kind of class I needed. Coming across the Plumfield Academy website — while researching private schools in the area — I found a true gem. Here was a school that offered an intimate, pastoral setting for children in grades 1-8 and a variety of supports to parents in the community. I immediately signed up for the parenting class and eagerly awaited the first day.
Pulling into the driveway is the first striking aspect of Plumfield. It is then that you first realize you are entering a home. In sharp contrast to a traditional schoolyard, with its wide parking lots and chain-link fences, Plumfield’s grounds are invitingly peaceful and naturally tranquil. My 3-year-old was drawn to the backyard, with its hill to run up and down and its trees to climb. As I watched him explore and run freely, I could see him at age 6… 8… 10… having the opportunity to learn and grow in a place of freedom.
Entering through the back door into a 4-season porch lined with windows, I was informed that in this spot children sit to do their math work. Continuing into the kitchen, study rooms, and living room I was impressed with the simplicity and warmth of the home-like setting. But beyond all this, what truly amazed me was the well-spoken children, ready to welcome me into their world. I thought, “This is the kind of child I want my child to become.”
Progressing to the parenting class, I was greeted by Nina Pension whose gracious and peaceful presence set a tone for the entire school. John Pension quietly announced that the visiting children were invited to make their own pizzas in the kitchen. It was clear that the school culture was founded on a sense of Christ-like peace and gentleness. As we explored concepts of parenting, I knew that it was not just my children who needed Plumfield.
Now, my son having attended the school for two years, I find myself filled with exactly what I was craving — a place to be supported as a parent who seeks a different kind of life for my children. The world is a wondrous place to be explored and experienced freely, and it is Plumfield that carries that message to my son when I am not there to tell him myself. My husband and I are true partners with Plumfield, not burdened with homework and busywork to fill our family time and not dismissed when we have ideas for our child’s education. We are supported, heard, respected, and cherished. Because of this unity and partnership, our son (and soon our daughter) can remain unburdened in his educational pursuits and be free to be a child, for whom there is not enough time in the day for all the exploration he has planned.
– Kristen Kansiewicz