social and emotional

May
22

Reflecting on Leaning In With Curiosity (Part Two)

In my last post, I told the first part of our story of using Playful Inquiry to create conditions for children to lean into making sense of the world with curiosity rather than judgment, to accept and seek out complexity, and to develop empathy and understanding for people and perspectives different from their own through interactive […]

By Hannah Chandler | Teaching and Learning
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Feb
19

Reworking Scary Experiences Through Play

A child's play is not simply a reproduction of what they have experienced, but a creative reworking of the impressions they have acquired. - Lev Vygotsky Each week, the Cottonwood community of kindergarteners and first-graders hikes in Hoyt Arboretum. Last Tuesday, we hiked to the Upper Meadow, where the children had time to free play. They [...]
By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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Feb
09

The most important word is yet

In Alder, a community of 3-5 year olds, we were curious how children approached problems. We noticed how eager they were to run and get the strategy ring to support friends in conflict. Their heightened interest in this problem-solving tool led us to make strategy rings as gifts for the other classrooms. The children offered […]

By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Jan
10

When I feel sad sometimes I get angry

After cracking open the word friendship, we started investigating emotions through literature, materials and dialogue. After reading When Sophie Gets Angry — Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang, we asked, What happens in our bodies when we have a big feeling? And what do you do when you have that big feeling? The children offered strategies, […]

By Tara Papandrew | Beginning
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Dec
01

Making 1 from 20

This year, the Dogwood Community was invited to write the story for a school-wide community celebration, the Lantern Walk. The Lantern Walk is held each year when the days grow shorter as winter sets in. The message below, sent to families each year, captures the intentions of this tradition. The idea behind the Lantern Walk […]

By Kerry Salazar | Primary
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Nov
21

Serendipity, distraction, and meaningful metaphor

In her research on serendipity, Pagan Kennedy describes three different groups of people by the way they respond to unexpected moments. The group that she describes as the most open to such moments are the “super-encounterers.” She writes that this group, “reports that happy surprises pop up wherever they look” and that they “count on […]

By Sarah MacPherson | Primary
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Oct
23

The Importance of Documentation and Reflection in Building Community

In the Cottonwood community, one of our main focuses in the beginning of the school year is community building – which is foundational to all of our other curricular work. With each new group of children, we try to make visible to them our complex process of becoming a “we”. As teachers, we know that […]

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Sep
23

Partner Explore

  “A deep sense of love and belonging is an irreducible need of all people. We are biologically, cognitively, physically, and spiritually wired to love, to be loved, and to belong.” –Brené Brown We’re only in our third week of school, and the Dogwood community has been spending a lot of time thinking together about […]

By Kerry Salazar | Primary
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Sep
12

Intentions: Interdependence and perspective taking

Dear Intermediate Community families, At Opal School, we see all children as competent citizens with rights.  We see them driven to connect, eager to empathize and be understood. We know that the arts are powerful pathways to develop understandings of ourselves, each other, and complex ideas. We value increasing proficiency with the conventions of communication […]

By Hannah Chandler | Intermediate
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Jun
08

What are the children teaching me?

As a student teacher in Opal 3 this year, I continually find moments where my own growth parallels, intersects, is inspired by, and connects with the children’s growth. One instance where I experienced this was when the children began to unpack what it means to “listen to understand” vs. “listen to reply.” As a community […]

By Sarah MacPherson | Intermediate
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