Teepee Town


Blocked from the view of the driveway by the pool house is a special place the Elementary children have dubbed “Teepee Town.” Take a look at the impressive structures they have built from the sticks they have gathered from the woods! 


The Elementary children at Villa di Maria are under no shortage of creativity… and sticks.


If you are a parent of an Elementary child, you may have heard about the drama that comes from the building, the taking down, the rebuilding, and the conflicts that come from Teepee Town and other forts around campus. Be assured; this is normal conflict, something every human being must learn to deal with, and provides ample opportunities for children to negotiate, engage in conflict resolution, put themselves in other people’s shoes (and thus develop their senses of empathy and global citizenship), and learn to work together in small groups.

Often, the conflict that arises surrounding Teepee Town and other forts is uncomfortable and involves tears, anger, and hurt feelings. It would be all too easy for the adults at Villa di Maria to shut down the situation and ban fort-building altogether. However, the adults view this as an opportunity for learning, and are well-equipped to aide children in resolving these conflicts. Though it is hard work, it is necessary work: the kind of work that leads to understandings of peace, fairness, and justice. Instead of shutting down the fort-building, the adults work to teach and model conflict resolution so that the fun can continue. For this, we thank you, Guides and Assistants! We know it isn’t easy, and sometimes feels impossible, but you are making our children better equipped to handle life as adults.


We look forward to seeing these amazing structures grow and become more complex as the children learn from their mistakes, hone their skills (both building structures and building relationships), and become better at navigating the complexities of small group work.

For more on peer conflict and why it’s important, read this. For an unconventional view on sharing, read this. And for tips on how to help resolve conflict between siblings at home, read this.