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TSH Observations - 2020 June 1st

Week Beginning June 1st, 2020: From Founder & Principal Mimosa Jones Tunney

Good Evening TSH Community!

I hope you are all enjoying this outstanding weather and feeling good about the future.  It’s been a long three months, but there is also so much to be grateful for today and in the coming year.  Here are some updates!


1.  We are moving ahead with planning our TSH Summer Camps.  These camps may start later in the summer and run for a shorter duration given that we are still waiting for protocols.  Most importantly I would love to get the kiddos together for some portion of a summer camp to socially connect and to revisit some academic components (in a fun way)!  Again, much of this has been a waiting game to see how this will evolve.  As you might imagine, John and I are in that same waiting game with regard to our restaurants Besito, The Shed and Ballo.   When we have further information, you’ll be the first to know.

2.  School is moving forward in September.  Our initial conversations have been that school will re-open in September with protocols in place.  Again, there is a lot of guessing here - which as a fact-driven person I’m reticent to do just yet.  These protocols look like they’re falling in line with the French: spacing between workstations in the classroom environment, disinfecting of materials, lunch and Provocations in classrooms instead of group settings, etc.  We’ll have these in hand we’re told by mid-June in order to submit our plan for re-opening to NYS for review in July.  Again as soon I have firm guidelines, I will send an email out to all current and new enrollees.

In the meantime we are moving ahead with our calendar for 2020-21 which will be published on our website on June 19th - our last day.  We’re also digging into our garden to prepare for planting, harvesting and farm stand sales!  Our boys along with their dad have built new garden beds (photos to come next week!) We very much hope for this to be a part of our Summer Camp Program and of course our first project of the new school year.

3.  Please make sure to gather and submit your child’s work for their end of the year portfolio!  If you have any questions about this please email Ms. Meg at meg@theschoolhouse.org.  These portfolios will accompany your Learner’s end of the year narrative (traditionally called a report card, but much more in depth and whole-child focused).  

4.  New work and activities as well as Learner Led videos and photos are on our website at www.theschoolhouse.org/homelearning.  Feel free to end these three weeks by engaging in some of these unique home learning adventures as you wrap up with your Educators .  

5.  I’m very excited to see you all at the June 19th Wink & Wave!  For those of you that attended our first Wink & Wave and received planting boxes and seeds, please bring your plants and drawings to Wink & Wave with your NAME on them.  We will be gathering them and adding them to our garden asap! 

6.  Finally, everything that your child left at TSH in March - clothing items, art, work not in portfolios - will be given to you at the Wink & Wave in a TSH bag.  Boots will be kept at the School for up-cycling!  As you drive through, we’ll have a system of gathering your plants, handing you portfolios and your bag - as well as the best part: SEEING each other!  


What a rocket launch!  For those of you who watched, I’m sure you were awestruck by the speed, singular beauty, chic space suits and perfection of the Falcon 9 re-entry to the drone ship!  Congratulations to Elon Musk and SpaceX for their outstanding work and their faith in big dreams and even bigger accomplishments.  We’ll need dad Michael Rose and our chess master Mr. Ben to explain all the particulars when we’re together next!

To build a school - or a rocket - is to have faith.  It’s to be optimistic and altruistic.  It’s to have a firm hand on the present, but a bigger passion for the future.  There are so many parents this year who have blown me away by their commitment to this future.  As I love to say to the Team, start-ups aren’t for everyone.  We are learning, growing and doing all at the same time.  We are building, changing and bettering simultaneously… just like SpaceX.  This is what I long to teach my children and the children of our country.  Do not be afraid of change, of making mistakes - see my word of the day in Provocations on Monday - of working to be better.  There are programs that worked so well this year, they’ve inspired schools around the country.  There are others that will be scrapped for a better version as we enter September.  These are ultimately good things.  These efforts and dreams and changes are what make a good idea great.  It’s what is lacking in our current school system - whether private or public or parochial.

In 2020-21, we’ve planned a robust training for our Team in August.  We’ll also offer aspects of this to our parents at our Orientation.  After building this school in its first year, we know what works beautifully, what needs changing and mostly what needs to be communicated to Educators and parents alike to further build upon our initial success.  This is not nor has it ever been a school just for us.  It’s a model for everyone.  And so, to share that model my goal for next year - now that we are publishing the AEC - is communication.  How we communicate our intentions and our mission is vital.

As we near our next school year, you’ll have many opportunities to interact with us on topics about your child’s education.  They’ll be insights into how the individual components of our curriculum work together, community opportunities each month to socialize with likeminded parents, a fundraising Advisory Board and many other components that will strengthen the common mission of TSH: to build the best elementary school in the world.

Thank you for being on this journey.  And most especially to parents like Ali mom to Jackson who out of the blue called us to tell us it was her snack week and she’d like to donate the snack we would have used to a local food bank.  There are too many of you to name who call and write us every day and week to kindly offer support, financial help, kindness and just warm hellos.  You do each and every day what we ultimately hope to pass along to each and every one of our Learners.


My mantra lately is to remember to stop asking and start expecting.  I remembered this from a book I read years ago about a man who for 30 days stopped asking his children to do anything.  He remarked that it was absolute torture!  In fact, every minute he caught himself demanding and desiring things from his children… things that they had missed (take your plate to the sink) or stepped over (dirty clothes) or shrugged off (brushing their teeth).  He knew that his children had done these things repeatedly, but for some reason the more he asked the more they seemed to forget.  To be clear, he said, these weren’t things I was teaching for the first time, they were things they knew and “forgot”.

As he wrote the book, he uncovered two things.   The first was that children really do FORGET.  Why all this pressure and angst over them not remembering?  Imagine how many times we forget names, our keys (me) or paying that bill?  What if we were lambasted every time we forgot - would we feel any better about doing these things?!  The second was that the more he said it, the more they simply didn’t want to do things.  And that is true for ALL humans.  I.e. look at the typical day in a marriage.  I’ve never given John a Honey Do list… I know for sure if I did, NOTHING would be done on it.  Yet, in the absence of a list, he does more than 10 people combined!

One of my favorite quotes (paraphrased) from Dr. Montessori is that to be a parent you have to be clever and wiley and creative all at the same time.  Simply asking for things over and over again doesn’t work.  And so these last few weeks, I’ve walked around my house (and around and around!) simply expecting that they will do the things they know they should do.  FYI… this is not 100% fool proof.  But a few examples blew my mind.  Just as I was about to ask them about their teeth, holding my tongue to the last minute… they up and did it.  When little John wanted to use the sander and paint a desk all by himself, I zipped it on “putting everything back”.  He not only put everything back in the garage, he labeled the spot with tape so he knew where to return it.  Dishes went up to the counter (albeit not in the dishwasher).  And overall things were so much lighter.  No doubt they were tired of hearing everything that I was darn tired of saying!


Things are getting very quarentiney around the Tunney home:


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