Dear Sierra Nevada families:
I’m SO sad that we are missing our Thanksgiving feast today! I didn’t find out about school closing until after I’d returned home last night so I wasn’t able to give anyone a heads-up at the end of the day about it. Hopefully you didn’t spend the day cooking for today!! I know the children will also be disappointed as they were looking forward to decorating the classroom today and hosting you all. Perhaps we can make our Pajama Day (the day before our December break) into a family feast day where we combine both our Thanksgiving feast and Pajama party game day.
It’s been very difficult for the children to stay inside all day! Despite the extra energy this gives to the classroom, the children have been very busy the last couple of weeks adding a couple of new “clubs” to our community. One is a knitting club. I taught a couple of the children to knit and how to make their own knitting needles. This has now taken on a life of it’s own and they are teaching each other how to do this. Once they learn how to knit and then practice on a community knitting project that we have going, they can then craft their own knitting needles from wooden dowels, sand them well and then top the ends with beautiful wooden beads.
Another club that has started is a school newspaper. I brought our local Davis Enterprise to school to show them what a small newspaper publication looks like and what it includes. Many children were interested in becoming reporters and so far we have articles on sports, Tinsel and Rain, and an interview with Gail. We have even had some upper elementary children interested in submitting some articles! This is a great way for the children to learn about writing, editing (they end up writing each article at least three times!), layout and production. I hope that we have enough articles to get our first publication out within the next two weeks!
“Clubs” are new to my class. I’ve never had enough children to have that spontaneously occur and carry on. It is something that resonates with children in this plane of development and gives them a sense of ownership, excitement and seriousness about their work that would simply fizzle away if assigned by me. Of course, being a club, the children can choose to participate or not. The children who have chosen not to join right now are still reaping the benefits of watching their peers strive and work together to accomplish something great together.
Finally, I want to leave you with a lovely tribute that Wendy sent to the San Gabriel Community this morning that resonated completely with me. I feel exactly the same and couldn’t think of a way to say it better, so, with her permission, I am quoting her here:
“Our community and each, individual child is the source of most of my gratitude in my life. Certainly my family is in there but I don’t actually spend as much time with them as I do with or thinking about the children in my care.
There are so many things going on in the world that are confusing, troublesome, or tough. I see every day, not due to some special quality or brave heart, that the future of humanity is safe. I get to see in regular kids the impulse to helpfulness, the desire to do the right thing, the caring for others that will continue to make our world spin in the right direction. I recognize the supportive value that our school and our own little community plays in the development of these terrific qualities, but I also recognize the contributions from each family, the struggles that each parent gets through to be a better mom or dad, the sacrifices that are being made to offer the best to one’s child. This is one of the reasons I love parent/teacher conferences so much. I get to see in each interaction, people who love powerfully, want the best, and who strive to understand and accept their child.
And I am thankful. I wouldn’t be able to do my work or to make my mark on the world without your trust in me. So, thank you for entrusting your most precious work in the world to me so that I can continue the work.”
I hope you all have a lovely and very safe holiday!