Phyllis Wallbank: Her Dream Classroom

June 10, 2017 0 Comments


By David Fleischacker

One day some years ago, Phyllis Wallbank and I were sitting in her living room looking across the pond in her back yard (this is the picture that is the backdrop for this blogsite), and we were talking about the unity of all things in creation.  She then in her spontaneous way started to draw out an atrium that expressed her vision of education.  I am attaching that drawing here.  All of the age groups would be found in this world.  At the center is a kind of Garden of Eden for the youngest children.  As one moves out into the constellations of knowledge, life, and the universe, one sees as well how it forms a circle of knowledge.  Phyllis would have had Newman’s notion of the circle and unity of knowledge in mind.  Overall, one sees a unity to the whole, and thus the relationships of all ages as well, but also the differentiations that are necessary for the kind of unity that we find in creation and in history.  

It was a very suggestive drawing for me in the early years that I was learning about Newman, Montessori, Phyllis, and education. Phyllis knew how it would impact me. And it did.

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