TSH Observations - 2020 Jan. 10th
Week Ending Jan. 10th, 2020: From Founder & Principal Mimosa Jones Tunney
Happy New Year TSHFamilies!
I hope your break and the New Year have been filled with joy inspired by your outstanding children, their humor and perspective. Each day we as a team share our own stories about your kiddos that keep our disposition light and full of grace and energy for the months to come. There’s so much to share in this edition… including a bit of magic that I’ll highlight below.
Celebrate the New Year with us this Thursday, January 16th from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm at our third Parent Enrichment meeting. That night we will be highlighting Totality and Tone our two mantras for the New Year. The first is how Totality of Education works at TSH. With conferences coming up, we'll be sharing how academics stack up at TSH and releasing a written brief on how State Standards have been aligned with Montessori materials and Project-based Learning. Committee of Five member Lauren Persico will lead us in a discussion on Tonality. Not yelling, but subtle tones in our conversation with children that lead to defiance, difficulty in communication and judgement. To top it off, your child’s hard work from November and December - including all their beautiful art - will be available for viewing in the classrooms and in the Atelier.
As a team we started our year off releasing both our curriculum for January through June and our goals - Totality and Tonality. It’s so vital to us that we continue our mission of giving our Learners a full (or total) experience when it comes to their education; that if we’re learning about one subject, we connect the lines in art, music, sports, cooking, history, etc. When I mentioned the magic above, that was at the root of it. Only a few days after returning from the break, any visitor would have walked through the school and witnessed the curriculum points of our season (snow, ice, Arctic, weather), our culture (MLK and the American Revolution), the emotional theme of Courage and our science-based deep-dive into the Timeline of Life and nature starting now with cell formation. What would have been unique however was the continuity the team brought to the work.
Mr. Willie brought to life Yankee Doodle Dandy teaching us all the rich American Revolutionary history of the song - and also bringing in a 250 year-old 12-pound cannon from the Revolution. Ms. Anna created beautiful crystals and snow flakes in science. Ms. Jen filled our library with the Speeches of MLK and books about Arctic whaling. Ms. Trish re-set the Atelier so the tables would reflect the winter light. In Ms. Jade’s class their first Socratic Method was about MLK and they watched his “I Have a Dream” speech. Huge Timeline of Life charts were spread out in Ms. Carissa’s and Ms. Yoko/Ms. Debbie’s room. I brought in our sugar gliders on our first day back so Learners could see and touch a 100 million year old flying mammal. Ms. Sandy and Ms. Ingrid (welcome to our new Kitchen Educator from Mexico City!) began planning our Stone Soup American Revolution lunch at the end of the month and preparations for our MLK lunch featuring his favorite meal. All of us, educators and children especially, felt so fulfilled in our environment over the last seven days.
Four days in, Renita and Pizette (3 graders) came to me with an idea for a School Newspaper. Working with Ms. Trish and Luca, they had all of their sections planned out and their hopes for starting a monthly paper club that could be developed every Wednesday at recess. I thought it was remarkable the thought and preparations this group had put into the idea. It reminded me of how education - learning and standards - can be found everywhere: spelling and writing, reading, math to lay out the columns, history and research for articles - not to mention the collaboration, sharing credit, leadership and communication that go into producing something which are the skills we REALLY need out in the actual world. Stay tuned: they’ve set a meeting with me next week to present their look book.
Two new Learners joined us this week (and six more will be in the next two weeks) Spencer and Aspen - and you’d never even know they were new. Embraced by all the children they seamlessly acclimated the school - thanks also to a lot of great work by Ms. Meg. We talk about Tonality being our second goal at the school in the New Year because the way we speak to children is everything. Our subtle tone lays their little hearts to flight or fight; each moment we are with them is a moment we can uplift, encourage and support. And this is also true for our student body. We have the kindest group of Learners I’ve witnessed for sure, but there is always room for improvement and now we’re tackling the small things: tiny comments that hurt, a roll of the eyes, a wayward look. Knowing early that your physical and vocal response carries weight is part of our fine tuning for the remainder of the year.
We round out our January curriculum with Courage. Ms. Cassandre and Ms. Janice have been visiting each class talking about different types of courage - not just the MLK kind, but the artistic kind, the friendship kind, the innovation kind. It made me wonder how much courage we as adults show everyday. We expect a lot from our children and sometimes we expect them to be better than us with 40 years less experience! Would they rise above it if someone cut them off on the Play Yard? Would they re-engage with a friend who disappointed them? Would they try something totally new while all of their friends were watching? I see them do this every day. The real question is would we? Do we… live up to the expectations we ask of them each and every day.
A special kudos to Teddy and Gunnar for showing me how true gentlemen play; to Lauren for wanting to start a "club for poor people"; to Blake for his tremendous tenacity in our Problem-based learning class this week - no grown-up would have stuck with finding “51” in the library, Blake; Reagan for her tight hugs and bright smile; to Colton and his mom for making my day with their visit and sweet follow up note; and to Avery… every part of you says kindness!
Find Out More: January Parenting Tips & January Family Engagement