Monday, September 29, 2008

Garden Party

Thank you, all of you who turned out yesterday to make our Garden Party such a successful event! You all worked so hard, and the whole place looks wonderful. Thanks also to those of you who could not make the actual event, but who sent donations to help us along. I appreciate all of your efforts.

The children who came worked very hard, especially on the sand area! They helped empty all the sand bags, and then they worked assiduously at mixing and testing the sand. Thanks to them, we know that the sand is effective for building, tunneling, designing offices and studios, pouring, sieving, and making pizzas.

Thanks again to all of you!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Supporting Local Businesses

Currently one of the things that is happening in the SK administrative world is that we are doing our annual check into our regular vendors, taking bids for things like snow removal and groundskeeping, and generally making sure that we get good work done at competitive prices. One of the things that is really important to us here is that we support local businesses. If we can also support businesses from our own SK community, that's even better - we just recently discovered that the Zangana family has a carpet-cleaning business, for example. I feel bad that I didn't know this before... so I'm making a general inquiry right now. If any of you are in a line of work that we might be able to support here at school, I'd love you to let me know. Also, I'm designating the area between the 'under 6' and the boys' bathroom as a community notice board where you can put flyers, business cards etc, or let people know about events. That way we have the opportunity to support each other, to build the collective health of our community - and we will get to know each other better in the process. So please feel free to post!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Green School Meeting

I had a wonderful, inspiring, informative day at Upland Hills yesterday, working with other Michigan Heads of School on the theme of ecological awareness and what that means for schools. It made me proud to be part of a community of schools that values the environment, the concept of the 'wild', nature, and the future of our children's world.

There is a Buddhist prayer that goes: "We venerate the four treasures: teachers, the Wild, family, and friends." The first treasure - teachers - honors the role that a really great teacher plays in our lives. It also encapsulates the others, in that friends, family, and the Wild - nature, the natural world - are teachers for all of us, lifelong. A child who develops without a sense of connection to the earth, the Wild, has been deprived of a fundamental part of what it means to be a healthy person, just as if she were deprived of family or friends. Yesterday as I walked through the woods at Upland Hills, I met two young boys, each with a handful of salamanders. They were wandering in the woods too, exploring, observing, discovering, connecting. I came away wondering: how can we, as a community of learners and a community of educators for each other and our children, do more to encourage this connection to the earth as teacher?

The meeting brought up other questions: not necessarily new ones, but I find I need to be reminded often! How can we go further in being mindful of the implications of our behavior? What is the dynamic we are communicating to our children? What do they make of it? What kind of footprint are we leaving for them to follow, and how do we assess that? It's a complicated business, and most of all yesterday's meeting left me musing, thinking things over, not answering or even trying to answer. Questions feel better at this point. I'd welcome your thoughts and input on any of this. Let's ask the questions as a community and see where the children take us.

You are welcome to post comments on this or anything else I write, or just email me, or catch me at school. I want to know your thoughts.

Thank you all.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I will be out of school on Wednesday, September 24th, for an AIMS (Association of Independent Michigan Schools) Heads of School meeting at Upland Hills School. The theme of the meeting will be Green Schools. Kim will be available all day, and Shan will be in the office from 10 a.m. on. Please go to either of them if you have questions or concerns.

Dear Families,

Here is my blog, finally up and running! I'd like to draw your attention to the list of upcoming events, in the upper left corner of this page. This is a quick way you can see what is in the works: opportunities to meet with the board, opportunities to meet with me, opportunities to volunteer or help out at the school in a variety of ways. Right now we have the Gardening Party coming up this Sunday (I'm hoping to really make the outside areas of the school fun and beautiful - revitalize the sand area, neaten up the flower beds and bushes, and get the bird feeders ready for the cold season - as well as laugh a lot together and eat apples and donuts). Also, don't miss the Community Meeting on October 2nd, which is a great chance to meet Anthony Nitsos, the board president, and get the full picture of where the school is and where it's going financially. And then, the very next morning I'll be having coffee at drop-off time, so if you think of more questions after the meeting, or if you just want to hang out and chat, I will be there.

Thank you all for your great feedback since the beginning of the year. I'm glad people are so happy. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns, or just to say hello - it's always good to hear from you.

Warm regards,