February 16, 2023

Dear Harbor Families,

Yesterday in the afternoon car line, after the line had slowed down, I witnessed a conversation between three teachers. One of them had found a small barrette on the ground after the students had left, and they were discussing to which child it might belong. They went through several names of students in different grade levels; ultimately coming up with a few “leads”, but the mystery still remains.

After observing this interaction, I delightfully exclaimed, “I am going to write about this tomorrow!” The teachers seemed confused, as what they were doing was perfectly natural. But I thought to myself, this is an example of what makes Harbor so special. It’s the little things.

Three insights come to mind when I’ve been thinking about this short interaction:

  1. The teacher who found the barrette picked it up. They could have left it lying there, or just put in their pocket with good intentions, or thrown it away since it’s so small and may not be missed, but they didn’t. They stopped, noticed, and made the effort to figure out who it belonged to. 

  2. The three teachers talking about the barrette, who were teachers of three different grade levels, were not just thinking about who in their own classes it might belong to. The kids’ names that they were listing were kids in other grade levels too. I find this incredible, that they could know not only the small hair adornments of their own students, but were thinking about what they know about the other students in the school. They all know all of the students, and well enough to attempt to match the barrette to its owner.

  3. When I mentioned I wanted to write about this in Harbor Highlights, the teachers seemed surprised. It wasn’t an unusual experience for them, so they didn’t understand why it was meaningful.

Think about how this approach translates to classroom learning, and to the school community. This was just a small moment for the three teachers chatting after dismissal, and not a big deal, because all day they had been noticing the little things, paying close attention to where each child is in their learning, and personalizing their teaching to each student. Every day and all day, they are matching little barrettes to students (okay, it’s a weak metaphor, but you get the idea). Not to mention, they are modeling care for others, a lesson that becomes ingrained as students are finding their place in, for many, their first community outside of their home, and understanding through this modeling how to contribute to a thriving community.

It’s the little things that make a big difference in a child’s education! (And, do you recognize this barrette?)


Leah Musico
Head of School

Harbor School