February 22, 2024

Dear Harbor Families,

Last week, we had a special guest writer for Harbor Highlights. Jack Miyamoto reflected on the benefits of his many years at Harbor, and how the small school experience prepared him for his learning journey. The Harbor metaphor that was conceived fifty years ago, of a safe and nurturing environment for students throughout the important early childhood and early elementary years, a place from which to prepare a journey, still holds strong and came through in Jack’s words.

Over the six years that I have been a part of this strong and connected community, I have had the honor of hearing - and helping to facilitate - so many stories from families like Jack’s, where the Harbor experience through third grade made the difference in preparing students for their future educational pursuits. Our preschool through grade three model is based on understanding and research about these developmental stages, to provide a small, personalized and responsive school experience to prepare students for the intermediate and middle school years to come. (And with this reminder, if you haven’t yet, please sign your re-enrollment contract before tomorrow’s deadline so we can have the needed information to inform our admissions decisions in the next week!)

One example of a way that Harbor creates lasting memories and powerful learning experiences is through our annual Spiral tradition, as Jack mentioned in his letter. The memories and pride that alumni share, when returning to Harbor to visit after graduating, are heartwarming. I always find it fascinating how much returning alumni remember about each Spiral Night - and the different Spiral themes they explored during their early elementary years.

In each of my own children’s closets, there are five Spiral shirts of varying sizes - souvenirs of a special time each year at Harbor that don’t go into the donation pile when they no longer fit. We have shirts from the themes of Inventions and Inventors, Sports and Games, The World Underground, the Animal Kingdom, Long, Long Ago, and now Nautical Explorations. Each year of the Spiral curriculum has been unique and memorable for Emily and Jude, and filled with meaningful learning, collaborative projects, and a great pride in their achievements - experiences they will treasure and never forget.

Tonight is the night! We are so excited to welcome you all to enjoy one of our most beloved traditions at Harbor. Whether it is your first or sixth Spiral Night, we hope you will savor the moments with your child, as they share their projects and learning experiences with you in their classrooms. Expect to see a variety of student projects and art work, with various mediums such as painting, printmaking, cardboard construction, coding, 3D printing, weaving, stop motion animation, and mobiles, along with intensive research and writing about individual areas of interest in the higher grades. This is a community celebration of the essence of the Harbor experience - collaboration, creativity, and student agency will no doubt be on full display!

Here are a few tips to make your Spiral experience especially wonderful tonight:

  • Have your child wear their Spiral tee-shirt tonight!

  • Arrive at 6 PM for our community gathering in the large community room as you enter Door B. We’ll have some interactive activities, a personalized passport for your child, and some reflections on the Spiral experience before heading upstairs to the classrooms.

  • Take the time with your child to explore the displays in each classroom. They will be able to collect a sticker for each classroom (including specials in The Sailing Room) to add to their passports.

  • When you are viewing the displays in your child’s class, encourage them to be your guide. Ask them probing questions about the process of learning such as, “What was a part of this project that was hard for you, and how did you persevere through that?”, or “What is something new that you learned from this experience?, or “What were some fun parts and challenging parts of working with others on this project?”

  • Have fun with your child!

We look forward to seeing you tonight!

Warm regards,

Leah Musico
Head of School

Harbor School