A new school year has begun! The quality of work we do in the first few weeks of school will lay the groundwork for a productive year of learning. We focus our attention on building connections between students, and between students and teachers, and fostering positive associations with the school environment. Every student in our diverse toddler through grade 8 community has at least one thing in common- the need for a safe, responsive learning environment. Through intentional planning, children are supported in their desire for positive, reciprocal social interaction, and are provided opportunities to practice ways to be heard and respected while hearing and respecting others. Limits and expectations are made clear as we understand that building a safe nest within which to stretch their wings allows children the confidence to fly!
Talk to your teachers about the first weeks of school, and ask how they inspire children in these critical first days to embrace their school experience and become agents in their own learning.
Classrooms are full of play as teachers observe and interact with students to build strong bonds of trust and friendship. Separation anxiety is a normal stage for some of our younger friends, and saying goodbye is often as stressful (or more so!) for the parent as it is for the child. Teachers understand this and arrange lots of opportunities for questions, explanations, visits to the classroom, and support. Good partnerships with parents are particularly vital in the first weeks of school, and attention is paid to nurturing these relationships as well as to the relationships fostered with children.
In our upper grades teachers and students begin to discuss classroom policies, values, and norms. Children collaborate to build a respectful, caring community by getting to know each other, feeling the connections built with common experience, and ignite shared excitement for the social and academic learning to come. Teachers offer repeated opportunities to practice routines to develop clear understandings of classroom protocols, and help students take ownership by brainstorming possible rules, guidelines and topics they might want to learn about this year.
In addition to classroom teachers, key Breakwater contacts include: David Sullivan, Executive Director. Maggie Lyon, Academic Director; Wendy Getchell, Early Childhood Coordinator; Renee Hall, Administrative Office Manager and Development Coordinator; Moriah Perry, Director of Enrollment and Advancement; and Kelly Steinhagen, Enrichment Director. Email addresses for all Breakwater teachers and staff can be found on our Faculty and Staff webpage.