Wednesday, September 15, 2010

If your kiddo comes home asking about Jimi Hendrix...

there's good reason.

Along with the great creators and innovators that the children are studying as part of the Renaissance theme, Hendrix's genius was of topic at this morning's school gathering.

Jimi Hendrix? How in the world would Jimi Hendrix make it into an all-school meeting? Elaine's brilliance of capturing the moment, that's how.

This morning Elaine led the school gathering and mentioned that since there were no student birthdays to recognize, she thought she'd talk a little bit about someone's birthday that she'd heard about on the radio this morning.

She told the students a little bit about Jimi Hendrix, who is considered by many to be one of the greatest guitar players of all time.

She mentioned that Jimi had mastered the guitar at a young age and, with that mastery, was able to free his mind to create some of the most amazing guitar music. She said he created music with the guitar that people couldn't ever imagine could happen.

And then she looked across the room at all of these beautiful faces and told them that she thought of our Summers-Knoll students when she was thinking of how Hendrix worked hard to master something and then made something so beautiful and amazing out of his passion. That they were working hard every day to learn and master math and writing and science and art and that she believed that they too would do and create things that would be just as amazing as Jimi Hendrix's work.

[This would be the part where I got totally teary.]

And these beautiful kids looked right back at her with the confidence that they too could be the next Hendrix or maybe the next Leonardo or Galileo. That their potential was limitless and that their gifts and talents could be used in the venue that best suited their lives. As Leonardo used the pencil so Hendrix used the guitar.  That's what was so amazing (and what set off the misty eyes). Elaine's gift for taking something in the moment and weaving this great story of mastery and passion into what she thought our children could accomplish themselves. Plus the look on the faces of the kids who live daily with the knowledge that their guides on this journey of learning believe in them and in their abilities in such a profoundly cool way.

So I leave you with Little Wing and hope that this post finds you fulfilling some powerful part of yourself, something you've mastered and feel passionate about, something that you can share with the world that expands the mind and fulfills the heart.

(The school gathering: Which I love, by the way. What a cool way to start the day as a community, centered on learning and seeing everyone's smiling faces!)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Creativity Crisis

I just received this great email from Miina (mom to Emi and Ella) and thought I'd pass it along. Great article. Thanks, Miina!


Hi Fran,
I thought maybe this article about creativity would be of interest for
SK parents to read...? If you think so too, please add the link to the
parents blog.

The Creativity Crisis
For the first time, research shows that American creativity is
declining. What went wrong—and how we can fix it

I think especailly this paragraph fits very well to S-K's way of
teaching (or how it should be done):

"Researchers say creativity should be taken out of the art room and put
into homeroom. The argument that we can’t teach creativity because
kids already have too much to learn is a false trade-off. Creativity
isn’t about freedom from concrete facts. Rather, fact-finding and deep
research are vital stages in the creative process. Scholars argue that
current curriculum standards can still be met, if taught in a different


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Begin the Begin

The school looked so fresh and lovely today after what must have been hours of cleaning and readying by our faculty and staff. New faces came peering around corners and looking down the hall while old friends gabbed and laughed and celebrated another chance to learn and play and grow.

This is the third year my son David awoke to begin his school year at Summers-Knoll and as I looked at the sweet Kindergartners coming in this morning, I could barely believe that the time had flown from when he himself walked through with big, anxious eyes. In our family, each year we "begin the begin" (with that fabulous REM song rocking in our ears)...we do a mad dash out for school clothes, scrub the dirt from our bare feet and get to bed early to train for the upcoming mornings. We talk excitedly of new teachers (full of surprises) or old teachers (comfortable as slippers) and what may happen with school approaching. We nest a little, prepare a little, Fall blows in to remind us that it's time and that the beginning is beginning. And then we walk, once again, into the familiar beauty of a that stone-covered building which has become a second home, into the arms of waiting friends who bring stories of their summer days and who, like we, are full of anticipation for what is to come.

Any of you who have peeled through old posts on this parent blog know that I am amazed at what transpires at Summers-Knoll. The deep relationships children develop amongst themselves, the camaraderie between faculty, the appreciation I feel for so many parents knowing my child by name and meeting him with a warm smile and a kind word. His brain is alive in this space and his eyes dance and thrill at the experience of new adventures, scaffolded by loving, thoughtful and intentional guides who want him to develop into a smart, competent and responsible young man. And, goodness, how did he get to be in second grade already? This school is a gift to us, magical and sound. Lovely. Real.

So here is to the beginning of our journey together. If you are new to our community, it is now *your* community. Grab a returning parent and ask a question, linger for coffee and talk to Joanna and the faculty about what is going on with  you and your family. Your family's threads strengthen the fabric of our community in special and important ways.

[and, if any of you would like to write for the parent blog, please let me know!]

Fran Loosen
(mom to David Giardino, 2nd grade).