Every year on the first Friday of school, the fourth graders at Bryant Elementary host an ice cream social as a fund raiser for their overnight field trip to Islandwood the following year. This year the weather was perfect and a large crowd gathered on the playground while kids ate bowls of sprinkle covered ice cream and played into the evening. Under the covered portion of the playground a six-piece jazz ensemble from Eckstein Middle School played standards. In the three years my daughter has attended Bryant Elementary, this was the largest crowd I had seen, perhaps five hundred people or so.
The conversation on the playground was mostly about summer adventures, which teachers friends of my daughter have this year, plans for fall activities and generally catching up with friends we’ve been out of touch with for the summer months—in short, the lives of the other people that make up our school community. Standing on the playground and walking home alongside scores of other families later that evening, my wife and I were both struck by the sense of community that exists in our neighborhood, especially around the school, and by how nice it is to be part of it. Growing up in suburbia, parents rarely left their cars save for sporting events and walking or biking to school was practically unheard of. In the accelerated world we live in today, it’s a pleasure to see so many families take the time to be part of their community, to slow down for a moment and walk to school together and support the efforts of their children and friends. These little daily acts are precisely what makes a neighborhood and is why we feel lucky to be a part of it.