September 25, 2019

Dear Harbor Families,

In recent years, research about the brain has given educators a much clearer understanding of the process of learning. Here are a few things that we know:

  • Tactile and kinesthetic learning experiences, in addition to visual and auditory, help students to solidify understandings; in other words, we learn by using our hands.
  • Students solidify understanding through application of skills in meaningful and engaging contexts.
  • The process of failing, and then trying again, is good for the brain’s elasticity and encourages resiliency.
  • Physical movement, along with social belonging and emotional safety, supports academic learning.

These have particular significance in the early childhood years, when children’s brains are rapidly developing, and they are developing a sense of self and attitudes that will serve them for a lifetime, such as resilience, creativity, collaboration, and perseverance in solving problems.

As you probably know, we opened a new Makerspace last year. Our students regularly use the space for STEAM learning (science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math) - solving design challenges, creating their own inventions, coding and working with robotics, and taking things apart to understand how they work. They are encouraged to try and to fail, and to try again, through Harbor’s unique early childhood focused design cycle - Explore. Create. Iterate.

Throughout last year, our teachers worked with educators at KID Museum, a local makerspace and interactive museum, to develop our practices in maker-centered learning. This year, we are continuing our relationship with KID Museum to collaboratively design and implement a unique program, called Invention Studio, for Kindergarten through Grade Two students. Our marketing department is excited that the project will be shared with other early childhood schools to further establish Harbor as a leader in making in early childhood. More importantly for our students, they will have the chance to pilot Invention Studio for early childhood!

Tomorrow, K-2 students will be kicking off the program with a workshop with their teachers and a KID educator. They will observe (and even take apart!) materials and tools in their own classroom environments, and will be introduced to the challenge of inventing something to make their younger “buddy classroom” a better place to learn.  Over the next nine weeks, students will visit their buddy classroom to practice empathy, go on multiple field trips to KID Museum for skill-building in woodworking and textiles, and spend time in their classrooms to our Makerspace to plan and develop their inventions. Their final products will be shared with families at a culminating celebration on November 26 (which is also Grandparents and Special Friends Day, so be sure to mark your calendar).

I can’t wait to see what they invent!

Warm regards,

Leah Musico

Head of School

The Harbor School

Harbor School