"What parts are you looking forward to?"
"I like the choices we get. I like going around the different stations. I like that I get to read in complete quiet and there's no one else making noise."
"I like to meet with other kids my age. I don't get that at home."
"I could understand that."
"You know what I said about choices? That's not really true. I get to do more stuff. We have more stuff there. But I get more choices here at home."
"What do you mean?"
"I wish school would let us go outside. And I wish that we could make paper airplanes. You know the music thing we made yesterday? Why can't we make stuff like that at school?"
"That would be fun, huh?"
"Why can't they just do both? Like, we could meet with kids our age and then we could have a time when we can meet with older and younger kids. And we could have times when we sit still, but part of the classroom could be outside in the shade. We could read things that the teacher wants and we could choose what to read, too."
I'm struck by how reasonable, sensible and nuanced this view of education is. I'm not suggesting it would work beautifully. I'm not even sure if it's what "every" seven-year-old wants. But I'm thinking that if student voice really matters and if we want to think in terms of meaning and relevance and seek after what is developmentally appropriate, maybe a few outside areas and paper airplanes might be a step in the right direction.