From Tim Bakland’s remarks at the 2018 Auction:
In anticipation of this evening’s celebration of Waring’s roots, I had the pleasure of traveling to Tampa, Florida where I spent a day with Philip and Josée, our school’s founders. We spoke at length about the earliest days of the school, La Petite École in Rockport, and then the move here to Beverly.
You need to know, first of all, that the topic of “why did you start a school” is never a clear-cut conversation with Philip and Josée. They both almost invariably lead with “we never thought we were starting a school,” followed by each of them giving the other credit for actually doing it. (From Philip: “It was Josée who really started the school. She’s the one who loved working with children — and I was more focused on books and ideas.” From Josée: “It was Philip who really started the school. He was a teacher who knew about books and ideas — and I was more focused on raising the children.”)
Eventually, though, with video camera rolling, the Warings spoke in beautiful, simple terms about their notions of “school” and “learning” and the sharing of “ideas”. They recalled discussions in daily morning-meetings, sketching all over campus with Josée, bee-keeping with Philip, the long trips in a school bus named Rocinante, and of the mysteries within buildings made out of barns and greenhouses and stables – spread over a largely untamed campus of extremely varied natural features.
There was nothing overly complex in the notion of La Petite École and Waring School – as all was really about learning through good living – and echoed repeatedly in the words of both Philip and Josée is what is most inalienably at the root of this place: that the spark, the impulse, the creativity and curiosity, the work, all the aspects of learning must come first and foremost from the learner. This idea may seem self-evident, and yet, as Philip and Josée knew so well, it takes courage as parents and teachers to step away, to abandon control, and to make the space and time for learners to learn.
It is a pleasure to show you now a short excerpt of my recent conversations with the Warings …