Building the Pink Tower
Education has a future.
It all started with a simple question at the dinner table. “What should I make a movie about next?” my elementary-aged son Amal had asked, coming off his first successful production with the neighborhood boys. The Adventures of Underwear Man had premiered just the week before, with root beer and popcorn and a new sense of purpose. My burgeoning filmmaker son was looking for inspiration. When I said how about a movie about your school, I was just following the writing mantra “write what you know.” But the idea took, not with him who scoffed at the idea of a movie about school, but with me who couldn’t let the thought go. Why?
I have been lucky enough to learn from my children what education and schools can be. We stumbled across Montessori education when my oldest son was just three years old, and we haven’t looked back since. I have watched my children and others thrive in an environment that respects who they are, that provides guidance and support without dictating, and that challenges them to be curious, independent learners. But as someone who cares deeply about what education can and should be for all children, I wanted to know why this couldn’t be the experience all children shared.
Does that mean that Montessori education is the only answer to all of our concerns about education? Probably not. But among the things it has to offer is the possibility of turning our conversation about education around. If we stop focusing on test scores, and turn towards asking what education and schools are for, we might discover some different answers.
So, inspired by my son, I am making a movie – along with my creative partner Jan Selby (also a Montessori parent), we want to open eyes to a different way of thinking about education and show what is possible. We want to show that schools can be places for creative learning, problem solving, collaboration, and community building. Our working title is Building the Pink Tower, taking its cue from the work of young Children’s House students to carefully and methodically make something beautiful from some simple pink blocks. We know that much thought and planning went into presenting children with those pink blocks, and likewise, we honor the intentional work that is necessary to open the doors to meaningful education.
We believe that a documentary film that tells the story of education and learning beautifully, that takes viewers into warm and welcoming classrooms, that captures the voices and expressions of children making their own discoveries, is the best way of showing the world the potential Montessori education holds. Our project will take some time, and we hope to build more than a film or a moment of conversation, but a movement of shared passion for making education meaningful for children. We believe that education has a future.
Join us in this movement. There are many ways to help. We need to raise money to make the film as beautiful as the education we want for all children. Visit our website and make a donation. Watch our trailer and share it with others through word of mouth, social media, and house parties. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and stay a part of the conversation. Share your vision for education.
Building the Pink Tower