EDITOR’S DESK: Territory Days – a grown-up field trip

       This edition we're reporting on the Westside's good idea of the month. Or maybe the year. How about the decade? OK, we'll have to wait and see on that last one, but even if all Buena Vista Elementary's Montessori program winds up doing with the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site is to take kids there on weekly field trips... well, I can tell you where I would have wanted to go to school when I was that age.
       But then consider how cool it would be if the biggest part of the school's concept actually happens - a Montessori middle school at the ranch itself. Now let's be clear. It's not as if those BV students would never have to crack a textbook again. Even now, Montessori students and their teachers still have to follow the District 11 curriculum; they just have flexibility in how they go about it. But I for one think Maria Montessori had her thinking cap on when she imagined a farm-oriented school that would give youngsters a truer feel for the origins of food... including such fine points as chickens having no bodily part called a "nugget" and milk having to work its way through cows to wind up in those neat rows of gallon jugs in coolers.
       The wind tried to blow Territory Days away this year. It largely failed (though it was a litte strange to see so many vendor booths on Monday that had lost their tents). For the second straight year, Jim Wear did a superb job of coordinating (and improving upon) this massive show. But I'd like to share with you an impression I had this year - something I think has much to do with the festival's continued success. From a distance, the sea of people might seem to be just jostling and claustrophobia. Quite the contrary. Politeness reigned (even if progress was slow). But every time someone bumped me (and it wasn't that unusual), he or she apologized. It was catching. I started doing it too. There's never enough, of course. Among the qualities in sixth-grade Montessori, you might have noted, are "grace and courtesy." Perhaps we could send them to Territory Days on a field trip.

- K.J.