I like to refer to school as “The New Neighborhood” – a place where children come together for laughter, relaxation and companionship. When children feel a sense of belonging, they are able to take risks and to take on challenges they never thought possible. But schools are not just for children! Parents and caregivers are part of our community as well, and it’s our goal to have everyone feel known in the “neighborhood.”
Students in classrooms throughout the school are reflecting on their Hopes and Dreams for the year. “I hope to learn how to tell time,” wrote one Second Grader. “I want to learn more about machines,” wrote a Third Grader. “I dream about seeing the dolphins in Cape May,” wrote a Fourth Grader. In Middle School, students were challenged to think about what it means to give and receive by reflecting on a quote from a Zen Buddhist teacher: “To receive everything, one must open one’s hand and give.” “One of my goals is to stay curious,” wrote one student. “The top goal I have for myself is not to give up.”
This week, parents Michelle May and Joanne Laurie opened their hands to us by planting a garden and creating beautiful window boxes to adorn the St. Nicholas Center. I can’t think of a better way to help us all remember to “stop and smell the flowers” as we begin our fall schedules anew. So, before the hustle and bustle of the new school year takes over, I invite you all to think about how and when you would like to be present in our neighborhood. Perhaps you’d like to chaperone a field trip, come in to read your favorite story, or share your career with our middle school students. Or maybe you’d like to invite a new family in our school out for a coffee, or a play date in the park with you children? Why not consider bringing a prospective family to the school? You won’t regret the experience…I promise. You’ll walk out the door feeling like you received the greatest gift of all – the joy of feeling connected to some of the most important people in the world, our students.