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Family Engagement - December 2019

December is about FAMILY. How we define our family, how families are created and how we celebrate the Idea of family. Holiday traditions, needs of humans, winter.

Family Activities:

Do nothing.  Pick a day over vacation to do just that… don’t plan anything, don’t watch anything, don’t read anything.  This will be really hard… mostly for parents.  Just wander around the house and whatever pops up for you and your children to do… do it.  Be aimless, get bored.  Revel in what can come from that kind of non-planning.

What to Read:

Here is a beautiful project that involves writing with your Learner.  

Family Engagement is not mandatory but it does significantly augment what we are covering in our AEC curriculum.  The David Attenborough series of Planet Earth, Raising Giants and the Galapagos directly connects with the Timeline of Life that will start in January and other segments like Ms. Anna T’s work on adaptation.  The books recommended connect with our Ambassadors of Kindness and their work.  And your nature work - time outside or at recommended events and workshops - continues to reinforce aspects of our Reggio Art + Design studio and cultural projects.

Please be certain to approach Family Engagement from a “Wow Perspective” - not a mandated one.  Once you tell a human being they “have to” do something - whether they are 7 or 70 - there is automatic resistance to it.  Family Engagement is best introduced as something "we are doing independently as a family” and from there your Learner will make their own connections to it - wow, I learned this in class or wow, I just made a project that reflected that same idea.

To that end, pick your favorite Roald Dahl book this week and read it to or with your child.  Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, James & the Giant Peach, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, etc.  When you have completed the book, talk about it - what made the book special?  What was the moral lesson?  Let them know that they too can imagine any world they’d like to just like Dahl.  Then, suggest to them the following story contest.  Whether they enter or not, this will create a lovely to connection to our PBL Project that begins after Winter Break and runs through March: a book that the Learners at TSH will publish.  FYI, entries for the Dahl contest below are due December 20th.

Roald Dahl’s stories often started as tiny ideas scribbled in his 'ideas books' - these tiny ideas would then be transformed into the great, big, wondrous story worlds of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and more!  To celebrate that even the smallest of ideas can become the most amazing of creations, and to unlock the imaginations of children across America, we decided to launch Roald Dahl's Imaginormous Challenge!  We’re looking for the most exciting and imaginative story ideas summarized in just 100 words or less from 5-12 year olds across the USA. Spelling doesn’t matter, nor does grammar: the only judging criterion is pure imagination!

To prove that a small idea can be transformed into something truly wonderful, working with some of our most esteemed partners, we’ve an unrivaled roster featuring once-in-a-lifetime prizeshttps://www.imaginormouschallenge.com/find-out-more/

What To Watch:

The David Attenborough series of Planet Earth, Raising Giants and the Galapagos directly connects with the Timeline of Life that will start in January and other segments like Ms. Anna T’s work on adaptation.

For Parents

I know many of you are looking for something to read over the holidays to center us and remind us all of what’s truly valuable in our lives.  You may read this book with your child (although it isn’t ideal and can be cumbersome for them) or if you choose to read it alone, it will give you a renewed sense of our place in the world: Walking by Henry David Thoreau was his final book before his passing.  

The book reminds me of one of my favorite quotes by John Muir:  “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure one is dirt."

Please read TSH mom Nicole Silva’s most recent piece on that empathy crisis.  She is an excellent writer and it's a sobering look at the realities of life without this skill:


I’d like to share an article forwarded to me by mom Kelly Little.  A must read: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/freedom-learn/201911/kindergarten-teachers-speak-out-children-s-happiness

About Family Engagement: At The School House, family engagement activities in lieu of homework are sent home by our teaching team. These are family-based projects that enhance our weekly, monthly and seasonal curriculum.


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