TSH Observations - New Year Successes, Revelations & Changes
Week of January 25th, 2021: From Founder & Principal Mimosa Jones Tunney
Each January I look forward to giving our Community a complete look at our successes, revelations, operational and curriculum changes and improvements.
If your family is enrolled here, you know that our whole-hearted mission is to change the American education narrative. We do this by combining innovation and tradition and always putting the child first. We do this by accepting families who understand the mission and want to give the best education to their children and also provide support for the greater good. And we do this by sticking to our purpose, being transparent, making solid decisions based on pedagogical science and having a whole lot of fun.
Ms. Mimosa and Ms. Meg
The American Emergent Curriculum is a curriculum that Learners thrive within and to which Educators feel very connected. Understanding it, perfecting it, training within it and seeing how it affects children from inside the classroom is a full time commitment. Within the next few weeks I will transition from Principal to President of the American Emergent Curriculum (AEC). In doing so, I will be able to spend nearly all my time in classrooms, collaborating with Learners and Educators, inviting researchers and pedagogical writers to our school and writing about how the AEC works in detail. My office door is always open, but I’m planning to be with your Learners instead of on email!
With that, it gives me great pleasure to announce that beginning on March 8th 2021, Ms. Meg will become Principal of The School House. A veteran Educator, Ms. Meg has brought life, love and leadership to our community. Her love of the AEC, The School House, our Parents and most of all our Learners is so entirely authentic and pure that I could think of no better human being to lead us into the next chapter of TSH. All of you have interacted with Ms. Meg - her thoughtful style, true empathy with our children, incredible organization and execution of ideas and deep connection with our Team members. But the person I’ve had the pleasure of knowing also profoundly “gets” what we’re doing. She makes excellent decisions, thinks critically and does so with an even hand. In her roll, Ms. Meg will oversee all aspects of TSH operations as I do now and in March we’ll announce plans for an additional Director to assist Ms. Meg, Ms. Juliet and The School House Community. Please join me in congratulating her on this incredible occasion.
TSH Launches The Little House
We are proud to announce that The Little House will open in September of 2021 and will begin enrollment ages 18 months to 3 years old on February 5th. The School House will be remodeling the TSH campus gym first level on April 15th to create a wonderland for these small children. With Montessori, Reggio, Nature Studies and Movement, our little ones will have simply the best care from 8:30 until 4:30 each day so working moms can part with their most precious gift knowing that they are getting the best care, early learning and exploration in New York. The Little House will accept just 30 children into this program in 2021-22.
Transparent Classroom 2.0
Starting March 10th, parents will have log-in access to Transparent Classroom. This means that all families can search through their child’s portfolio, see what they are working on daily, check out what they are practicing or have mastered and of course delve into pictures. At your conferences in early March, look for progression of Learning when all those materials and assignments you didn’t get for your fridge are laid out for you to see and compare how your Learner has changed from September until today.
Elementary II Business Launch
Each Thursday I lead the PBL class in Elementary II. Co-CEOs Mia and John were elected by their peers. They then chose the groups they wanted to participate in: engineering, marketing and accounting. We used a bottle of Tide detergent to explain how each of these areas participated in a successful launch. Next, what business to start? I noticed that Mia and John were totally polarized last week. John wanting to start a newspaper and rally his supporters; and Mia wanting to do baked goods and rallying hers. On Tuesday we had a private discussion on consensus (a big word Mia remarked). I gave them each a CEO notebook and asked them how they were going to bring their company together. After a few pointers and notes, they presented to their class and achieved: consensus!
Elementary II Learners will launch Culture Cookies sometimes this spring. Each box will contain a different culture cookie - Italian chocolate, M&Ms for American cookies, Greek ingredients for another, etc. Within their boxes they will print a small one sheet newspaper card about the culture like Vital Farms eggs does in their containers. The Learners are diving into perimeter right now and persuasive writing. By figuring out how big the box has to be to accommodate the cookies or writing a sales note to a local bakery they are able to use all these standards in real world applications where they’ll be engrained not noted and forgotten.
We are so pleased to announce that Mr. Dylan a graduate of the Cornell Cooperative is working with Mr. Jonathan and Ms. Anna on developing our true Seed-to-Market program. Planning started this week to build two additional garden beds and plant legumes to prepare our soil nitrogen content with all our Learners and to build a verminculture tote in conjunction with the Learner’s PBL in Ms. Stefanie and Ms. Laure’s classroom. In order to propagate our seedlings, TSH will be adding a Greenhouse as part of our Farm. This will begin in early February so we can plant peas and other spring vegetables in late March. The Food on Mars program will continue to run its separate sterilized lettuce and strawberry program and these fruits of our labor as well as eggs from our hens will be available for sale at our Farmstand when it reopens in March.
We’re JAMMIN’ in our Community
Look for great JAM classes this semester as we open for enrollment later today. We have partnered with terrific members of our community including Huntington Fine Arts, Chris Gates Tae Kwon Do and SEATUCK to offer instruction by exceptional teachers. Additionally, Ms. Michelle has crafted an incredible experience for our After Care program. If your child would like to stay with us from 3:30 until 5 pm each weekday, Ms. Michelle will be creating three massive pieces of Nature Art with our Learners to be displayed in our Dining Hall over the next 8 weeks.
Ms. Anna Leads TSH in 3 Research Studies
Do Children Get Cold. A look at why they actually never feel like they need a coat.
School After School. The phenomena where our Learners continue work on their own at home (student-led homework)
Do Chicken’s Lay More Eggs to Classical Music. Over a several week period, how does music affect their laying habits.
The AEC Curriculum
Writing and Reading. We ask our children to write everything from their own workplans to letters to speeches to notes to Educators. The more a child writes - and edits - the more prolific they will be. Additionally, Ms. Jen has developed an incredible Library that for the first time is curated to be an Independent Bookstore. She looks at and evaluates every book in our collection bringing only the best in non-fiction, culture, literature, picture books, chapter books, biographies and bigger resources. We reject books that aren’t robust for kids (Captain Underpants) and that give blanket viewpoints without constructive presentations.
Primary Learners continue their exploration of nature, culture, grace and courtesy as well as all the academic components their brains can soak up. These Learners are very, very concerned with Phil (our recovering hen in the office) and often draw pictures for her. She now has a bed and wheelchair. Imagine that level of love each and everyday — it’s extraordinary. I was especially moved during our MLK Jr. celebration when a Pre-K Learners named Noah announced his dream: for our country not to be broken anymore. Primary updates each week are some of my favorites because they are so busy, alive and full of interesting observations. In March, our Outdoor Classroom will be outfitted with slate writing boards, a miniature TSH House for work and reading outside, raw materials to build with and outdoor music components.
The Great Lessons. Every child in Elementary will participate in the History of Writing, the History of Mathematics, the Coming of the Universe (where they are now), the Coming of Life and the Coming of Humans. We use these lessons as a jumping off point for deep academics, historical context, science experiments and biology.
The AEC curriculum is a three-year cycle. This year our focus was distinctly on the Americas. While the United States and our civic commitment will always be at the forefront, next year will focus on Asia and Oceania. The following year Europe and Africa. This is not just told from a historical point of view, but an interconnected point of view.
Executive Functioning. Ms. Meg focuses on this in Elementary II - critical thinking, timelines, planning, organizational skills, testing skills, oral presentations and so much more. She started two weeks ago and will continue through the semester for this is one of the areas that schools continually fall short in providing.
Re-Enrollment for 2021-22 & The Summer at TSH
Current Families at TSH will receive Invitations for Re-Enrollment on February 5th. Applications are due by February 22nd if you and your child would like to continue your journey with us at TSH.
TSH Homestead Camp will run for 6 weeks July 5th through August 13th. Get ready for everything your child needs to know about sustaining themselves including an All-Camp Overnighter on August 12th using all their skills to survive 24 hours! More information will be available regarding camp in early March.
This is a Long List
But in the end, it’s just about Tom Long counting beads to 897 in the hallway (he’s four). It’s about Ms. Olga inspiring my son so much that he said “this is a teacher who makes me want to play piano”. It’s about Emerson making paintings for Phil’s new crate and Liora using her pulley to work hard for a Book Drive. It’s about a new recycling and composting program created entirely by kids and a botany program that actually teaches our little ones about soil - the key to all life. It’s about Declan and Teddy’s notes on my desk about their day and an entire recess field walking over to “the new kid” to ask him to play. And oh yeah, they all can do math at or above their level and they can tackle hard history problems and ace spelling tests.
It’s about them. And us. And how we can seriously do something for the country and the world if we just put our minds to it.
I can only hope next year’s State of the School is as beautiful and full as this one. Knowing your children and mine, it most certainly will be!
Mimosa Jones Tunney
Founder & Principal