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An Independent School in Littleton, MA serving Students Ages 15 Months–Grade 8

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Off to a great start

Off to a great start

By Jay Scheurle |

I have the best job in the world. I spent the first day of school watching the joy in your children’s faces as they returned to school, and witnessing their teachers adeptly helping them get settled back into the school routine and prepare for another great year of learning. Let me share what I saw.

As students arrived on the first day of school, you could see the joy in their eyes, even though their smiles were covered by a mask. The twinkle in their eyes, their movements, and their infectious enthusiasm for being at Oak Meadow generated the kind of energy that drives learning.

As I spent time in every classroom throughout the day, here’s what students were up to:

In one class, there were scavenger hunts designed to help the children get to know each other; students circulated around the classroom to find someone who liked certain foods or colors or had favorite places they liked to go. In another class, students had scavenger hunts to become acquainted with items in their own classroom.

As part of our social-emotional learning (SEL) curriculum, we put considerable focus on the importance of understanding our own feelings and the feelings of others around us. In one class, the teachers prompted a discussion among the students about “how they want to feel” when they are at school. The students then worked individually to think about what might help them feel this way. Here are some of the answers they gave about how they would like to feel at school:

  • Accepted for who we are
  • Accomplished
  • Comfortable sharing
  • Trusted
  • Safe
  • Treated with kindness
  • Silly
  • Inspired
  • Focused
  • Good
  • Smart
  • Respected/judge free
  • Worry free
  • Cared for
  • Interested
  • Heard/seen
  • Included
  • Appreciated
  • Happy
  • Challenged

Several classes were discussing how to be good community members, being respectful of each other and personal belongings. One class helped children understand how to share responsibility in the classroom through the use of a community job chart, where jobs could be rotated by the students throughout the school year. And of course, many of the students learned more about their academic schedule for each day of the week, so they could begin to acclimate to the school routine.

By the second day of school, students in all programs were busy in their classrooms, working independently and with teacher guidance on subjects like math, reading, writing, and geography.

I feel so fortunate to be part of such a loving, active, vibrant community of young learners and wonderful teachers. It is going to be a great school year.