I’ve spent much of the past week or two reminiscing, reflecting, and looking forward. I know we all keep saying it to the point that it becomes a cliche, but this year has flown by! It feels like I somewhat nervously welcomed everyone on September 5, then blinked, and the preschoolers were happily skipping out on their last day of school, and the second graders were on stage, rehearsing for their graduation. What just happened? Well, an awful lot happened.
Although there are times where it feels like a blur, I look back and think about how much we have accomplished this year...
Our community came together in a time of unspeakable sadness, and joined hands to keep everything going for the children. I am often overwhelmed by the fortitude and generous spirit of the Harbor community.
We challenged ourselves to commit acts of kindness and easily exceeded our goal by the 100th Day of School. We celebrated fall at Smokey Glen, and hosted an outstanding Book Fair. We performed for Grandparents and Special friends, proved that “Harbor’s Got Talent,” and flashed back to the 80’s for the annual auction. We celebrated Music Around the World and learned about new instruments, cultures, and genres while singing, dancing, playing, listening, and recording. We even built our own instruments. Spiral Night and the Musical program were unforgettable.
Preschoolers followed their interests and passions, diving deep into favorite subjects like space exploration, Legos, animals, and different parts of the world. They were introduced to French, Spanish, Greek and Chinese! They developed phonemic awareness, number sense, and concepts of print. They learned (or are learning) to write their letters and names.
JK students prepared themselves for kindergarten by examining letters and their sounds, reading fiction and non-fiction books, studying topics of interest, and creating beautiful artwork. They made rain sticks and ceramic maracas, visited theatres and parks on the Harbor bus, and even raised butterflies. Most importantly, they mastered the “JK Way.”
Kindergarteners impressed me daily with their developing reading and writing skills. They had deep discussions about books, connected with characters, and used their own words to convey ideas and express themselves. They read to their buddies from Preschool 3s, conducted science experiments, studied life cycles, built dioramas and instruments, and recorded songs on the drum machine. I can’t leave out the dance parties!
First graders also developed as readers, writers and mathematicians. They wrote letters to students in Spain, wrote scary stories for Halloween, designed and created objects using the 3D printer, portrayed famous musicians, planned and built a cardboard city, and joined their friends in second grade for some amazing STEM challenges. And since it’s fresh in my mind, I have to mention their Gipsy Kings performance at the musical!
Second graders grew into their role as leaders of the school community. They helped me welcome students to school each day and lead All School meetings; and as classroom ambassadors, shared their Harbor experience with guests and tours. They read novels, wrote biographies and poems, traveled through the decades for their music study, portrayed musicians, designed action figures and fidgets, solved problems, and got to explore local waterways on a historic boat with Living Classrooms.
These are just a few examples of the learning and growth that I witnessed in the classrooms this year. Perhaps the most important growth I’ve seen is how our students have developed as learners, as friends, as citizens and individuals. When I look at how far they have come since September, I feel confident that we are achieving our mission of embracing the uniqueness of each young child, and teaching them to celebrate it in themselves and each other.
Thank you for being a part of our community, and thank you for entrusting us as partners in your child’s most critical time of growth and development. Have a wonderful summer, and we’ll see you in September!