Dear Harbor Families,
There is really nothing like the feeling of the first week of school. The anticipation of new routines, new relationships with peers and teachers, a classroom space that is freshly organized for a year of growth, fun, and learning - it's a unique and special time.
I have a little personal tradition that I’ve kept every year of my (23-year) career in education. Just before the school year begins and the doors open for students, I walk the building, taking in every detail of every classroom, imagining the buzz of learning about to begin. It’s a contemplative moment that, for me, marks the significance of the first day of school.
This week, the teachers have capitalized on that feeling of anticipation to begin to build classroom communities with carefully crafted routines and a culture of mutual respect. In the classrooms, students and teachers are learning about each others’ interests and strengths, reflecting on hopes and dreams for the school year, and collaboratively developing rules that will ensure their classroom community is safe and inclusive for all. Each classroom experience is intentional and purposeful to develop the kind of learning environment where all students will thrive. And, in this first week of school, it's clear that they are well on their way!
Like each classroom community, our school community thrives with care and purpose, with goals and a clear vision. We are focusing on three goals, which embody our mission.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion - Children aged 2 to 8 are in a constant state of developing a view of, and an understanding of their place in, the world around them. Especially as an Early Childhood school, it is imperative to be intentional about diversity in our community, and to have conversations, resources, and curricula that strive for the ideals of equity and inclusion at all levels.
Differentiated and Personalized Education - Individualized learning is at the heart of our mission at Harbor. Our teachers make personal connections with each child and use varied forms of assessment to differentiate the learning experience for individuals and small groups - in the academic, social/emotional, and physical realms.
Maker-Centered Learning - We know that students learn best by doing. We also know that skills of creativity, collaboration, and resilience are important for their future. Maker-centered learning encourages students to build skills, apply problem solving strategies, and learn to innovate.
In my next three letters, I look forward to sharing more about each of these goals and to articulating ways you can become more involved in each. We hope you will join us as we continue to refine, with intention, the inclusive learning community and high standards of teaching and learning that define our work at Harbor.
Head of School
The Harbor School