Consider the Acorn
We have a big beautiful oak tree on our campus that drops acorns in the Spring, much to the delight of the local squirrels. Today I was looking up at its limbs, and the little acorns growing there, and thinking about how an acorn becomes a tree. The thing about acorns is that they require very little effort - everything they need to grow is already inside of them. All they need are the right conditions.
Children are similarly self-contained. Everything they need in order to grow into beautiful adults is already there, they just need the best circumstances in which to flourish. We provide the "soil" for their growth with a safe environment where students can explore freedom, respect, responsibility, and autonomy in a community that cares for them and prioritizes their well-being.
Our young seeds are "watered" by naturally unfolding life experiences. Interpersonal conflicts arise, challenges are faced and overcome, best laid plans fall through. All of these events happen in some form or fashion every day and students grow by living through these real-world experiences and deciding how they will act differently in the future. They are similarly nourished by the triumphs, successes, and wonderful friendships they acquire along the way.
Acorns do not require a temperature-controlled environment where they are carefully fed the right nutrients under the supervision of a certified gardener. They grow almost no matter what the circumstances and thrive when they are planted in the ideal conditions and then left to their own devices.
Children are the same.