Monday, January 9, 2017

Happy New Year!

Dear Parents and friends,

We’ve entered the New Year with great energy and enthusiasm!  Just this morning, several students exclaimed, “I just love school!”  Of course, that was music to my ears!  Among my many good fortunes, being around children who have an unbridled passion for learning, is one of my greatest pleasures! 

Last week, in preparation for our admissions open house, Mrs. Wright and I met with a group of ten fourth graders who are serving as Lower School tour ambassadors.  In our conversation, we learned about everything they love about Breck . . . and about their suggestions for change in our program. Leave it to students to share ideas that are so insightful!  Among their offerings were a desire to have more physical education and less recess.  They love learning new skills and having an opportunity to practice them within the context of a game or activity.  Another thoughtful idea was to have art more than once a cycle.  “We’d have more time to come back to projects, and probably be able to do more projects.”  And, since fourth graders have already been through a round of STEAM and coding . . . there was agreement all around the table for having STEAM throughout the year.  Given our students’ interests in creativity, problem-solving, and working collaboratively this came as no surprise!  We left the session fully illuminated by our fourth graders!

Our C.A.R.E. theme this month is tolerance!  Tolerance means understanding and respecting each other’s differences.  In classrooms, we are talking about how we can use our differences to build our strengths as a community.  Each of us has something valuable to contribute to a conversation or a task . . . can we find opportunities to recognize what we bring individually that adds richness to our collective work?  We’re also talking about how we respond to differences . . . do we listen and ask questions to understand, or are we quick to judge?  Given that we are days away from the Presidential inauguration, it might be an opportunity to have a conversation in your homes about citizenship and our responsibilities to one another.  One aspect of being a good citizen is to ‘seek to understand others’, and another is to ‘uphold the common good’.  Beginning with tolerance is a first step.

Coming up, we will be hosting six students from Seoul National University in Korea, who are studying to be teachers.  This is a partnership program we have with the University of Minnesota.  Our teaching guests will be in a few second, third, and fourth grades classrooms.  They will learn about the education system in the US, while also sharing their culture with our students.  We’re looking forward to their time with us. 

Gazing outside my window, the flurry of new fallen snow adds an element of wonder to a joy-filled Monday!  I hope this coming year brings you many moments of marvel and delight!

Warmly,
Peg