Bring Summer into the Classroom

Brendan Largay, Head of School
Post Date: September 6th, 2018

No time to read the message from the head of school? No worries, because this year, we will be including an audio recording to let you listen instead! Click here to hear the first recording from Blue Handprint Studios (aka, Brendan’s office).  

Welcome back. Day 3 (today) is just about the time when the structure we have longed for as parents over the second half of August starts to take hold and the impact on students, teachers, and parents alike is one of relative exhaustion. We stare at our computer screen or our steering wheel, and we wonder—sometimes aloud—where did summer go? It’s as though summer has adopted the identity of our missing car keys. I swear I put them right there on the counter. Right there. It was as if they up and walked away on their own.

This first Scoop article of the year is offered in the spirit of joyful rediscovery. Summer’s essence does not exist in binary where it either is or is not. Sure, the calendar has turned to September, and the memories of August are fading, but as the school year begins, much of summer can stay with us in the best of ways (and not merely by way of this ridiculous heat). What I offer here is that feeling of relief when you find those keys. When you realize, as usual, that they are right where you thought, they’re just buried a bit by the most recent pile of mail or the latest set of responsibilities that need to be met. But rest assured, they are where you thought they were. So, too, is the essence of summertime that you had, perhaps, wistfully put away for the season.

If you haven’t done this before, pay close attention to the ways that your child receives the world in summertime. Whether they are four or fourteen, there is a particular authenticity to how they experience things: it is incidental, joyful, unintentional, iterative, and most critically, packed with the experience of learning. I was mesmerized by each of my children skipping stones this summer, first on a glassy-still lake, then on a white-crested ocean, and always with the tenacity to beat their own skipping record (the family record sits comfortably at thirteen, but then, this isn’t about me).

Watching them interact with the world around them was a critical reminder that for all of the structures that we bring to a school year, the curiosity of a child is not something that needs fabrication or construction, it is already there in abundance. Summer happens to be the season where we loosen the guide rails a bit more on our children and their learning, and where their natural loves manifest because they have the time and space to find them on their own.

So, back to those keys on the counter. That authentic sense of discovery in our students is still there, right where you left it on Tuesday. The goal for us all—parents and teachers alike—is not to structure it out of them, but rather to guide them intentionally towards their own natural curiosity and love of learning.

It is good to have the students here. Halls alive. Friendships renewed. Classrooms buzzing.  Summer remembered. Right where you thought it was.

Click the B to listen to this message at Blue Handprint Studios!

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