It’s been just over a month since Jarrow opened its doors for the school year, welcoming familiar and new faces alike to our vibrant campus. Today we celebrate this first month of the 2017/2018 school year as children establish new routines, make new friends, try new things, and settle into Jarrow.
This year brings big transitions for many: moving up to first and fourth grades; being an elder in their Primary class; mentoring a younger student, or starting school for the very first time. This work can be a lot to take in, and we are here to support a transition that is peaceful and rewarding for your child and your family. As you know, not every day will be the same. Some days can be more emotional than others; some days might bring a mood or hesitation we haven’t seen before. Or some days your child may exert triumphant independence, which can result in an extra tender feeling that our children are growing up so fast.
This is where, as parents, we can celebrate our choice to have enrolled our children in a school that recognizes we are here to nurture a sense of belonging to a community. A school that has mixed-aged classrooms, where older children help younger children find their way and lead by example. A place where every child is seen as good; every child is invited to share their gifts with the community; every child has a valued and respected voice at the circle.
These practices are called “Grace and Courtesy” in Montessori, which encompasses activities that help children become oriented to their environment, learn how to use Montessori materials and interact with others. Some favorite back-to-school “Grace and Courtesy” activities are greeting, rolling a rug, tucking in a chair, and asking to observe or participate. Maybe you are seeing these lessons come home, as your child asks to help fold the laundry, uses please and thank you, and is showing more kindness and patience with their siblings and friends.
I invite you to see how Montessori encourages and supports children’s sense of belonging, independence and peer-based learning in this short film.
Let’s raise a toast tonight to our children, and ourselves, for the big journey of starting school again, and the accomplishment of a month of growing and learning together!
Gavin Green, Director of Admissions