Learning Acceptance and Appreciation

We are halfway through “Hispanic Heritage Month” and students have been learning about culture, traditions, and even a few famous or noteworthy Hispanic people.  Our    own Hispanic students are being given a chance to share speciBlog7Bal things about their heritage through the month. They also led our Hispanic Heritage” assembly this past week!

Last week, a 4th grade girl shared details about her Indian heritage with her classmates during morning meeting.  She brought in her Quran and showed with great pride the Arabic words on the page while giving explanations of their meaning.  She also gave each of her classmates a handmade bookmark that she inscribed with their name written in Arabic.   A few Jewish students recently brought artifacts to school and gave a “mini” lesson on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.  Their classmates were delighted to hear how their friends recognized these important religious traditions and were eager to share the traditions that related to their own heritage and or religion.

At Park Maitland, diversity is celebrated and appreciated by all!  We make a concerted effort to teach students traditions and cultures of many nationalities and religions.  Most importantly, we take the time to teach our students to respect and appreciate the many different ethnicitieBlog7Ds that make up our student body, our communities, and our world. Your child will learn about other cultures, both past and present in the classroom. At home, you can use these lessons as an excellent opportunity to emphasize and value racial and cultural diversity. This is an excellent topic to teach elementary school-age children.  They are forming lots of opinions about themselves and the people around them. This is when their natural curiosity about differences in appearance and cultural backgrounds really begin to come into play.

We find that we don’t have to teach tolerance. Here’s the beautiful thing about kids: Most are born with a natural sense of justice and fairness. Unless they are taught to be hurtful and cruel, children know that it’s wrong to attack others either physically or with words. All we have to do is nurture this natural love of people and get out of their way. If you are uneasy or uncomfortable around people of different backgrounds, your child wBlog7Cill pick up on it. Consider the way you talk about people. Do you describe someone by his/her race or physical appearance rather than other characteristics first? What messages are you sending for your child to pick up?

See the broader value of teaching acceptance. Learning to appreciate and respect all kinds of differences — not just racial and cultural but differences in socioeconomic levels, gender, and even disabilities — is an important skill in today’s diverse society. A child who is taught to devalue others based upon differences will face a tough and lonely road ahead.

Today, our neighborhoods and communities tend to be more diverse, giving children a chance to interact with children from other cultures and backgrounds. There’s no doubt that we still have a long way to go, but it’s a great time to be an American. And as an American, I am proud of the fact that celebration of differences is what makes our country and our school so special and great!Blog7A

 

Cindy Moon

Head of School

 

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Building a Sense of “Community”

_MG_0236-S Florida fall has arrived, and although it brought cloudy and rainy weather, we also felt our first “hint” of cooler days.  As Floridians, we don’t often get a sense of a “real” change of season. The leaves barely change, and cooler days for us are in the 70’s and 80’s.  At school, teachers create ways to remind or teach our students what fall and other seasons look like by providing activities that are traditional to that time of year.

In kindergarten, we started our first week of fall learning about the history of Johnny DSC_0877-SAppleseed, culminating in a festive day of fall fun — children, teachers and parents, playing and working together to make applesauce, apple pies, apple graphs, and just about anything you could possible think of having to do with apples!

This weekend, our 5th graders hosted their fall “garage sale” in an effort to raise money for global outreach.  Thanks to our generous and helpful parents, they received donations from all grades and came together with friends and families to sell hundreds of baked goods, hot dog lunches, and, of course, many, many donated “treasures!”

This past week, our entire school community gathered to celebrate patriotism and the 200th anniversary of the “Star Spangled Banner.”  The stBlog6Cory behind the song’s lyrics was taught by music teacher, Mr. Stephen Nelson, and he led the entire school in chants and song during the assembly!

While the main purpose of these events and activities is to teach our children in a fun, creative, and engaging way, another important outcome is building “community spirit!”  A warm, loving, and strong sense of community is traditional at Park Maitland School!  Life-long friendships are built here between students and among families.

A sense of community in school is important to establish bonds, friendships, and connections. The division of work, feeling of association, togetherness, and cooperation — all these help in establishing a healthy atmosphere filled with unity, harmony, and friendship. A sense of togetherness lies in the soul of every individual. This comes from our care and dependency on our fellow beings. From our childhood days to our adulthood, we care for our family members, our relatives, our neighbors, and friends. This leads to a need of togetherness among people, which helps in creating a community.Blog6A

We feel it’s important for parents to gather together within the school community to make friends, share mutual “child rearing concerns,” and simply “connect!”  In our fast paced, technologically advanced society, there is little time for face-to-face communication or collaboration, so we want to make the time!

This year we are changing the format of our “Parent Chats” to allow for more interaction with administrators and parents of children in your child’s grade/s.  We will host brown bag lunch gatherings.  Part of this time will be spent mingling and chatting with parents and administrators; a breakout session on matters that may pertain to events or happenings in your child’s grade or developmental milestones; and sometimes expert guest speakers that focus on hot parenting topics.  I would love to hear from you regarding topics that you would like to hear more about (such as discipline, dealing with perfectionism, social media, etc.)   We greatly value your ideas and time, so we want these sessions to be enjoyable and meaningful!Blog6B

Cindy Moon

Head of School

Every Day is “Gratitude Day”

IMG_5738Recently, Park Maitland School celebrated National Gratitude Day. However, every day is gratitude day at Park Maitland. In and out of the classrooms, students are encouraged to take the time to “think” about others and show expressions of gratitude.

For example, a group of 4th grade students recently gave praise and feedback to peers after they gave presentations on a group project in their SmartTech class, and then again after they made individual presentations on creative creatures in science. DSC_3133-XLA 5th grade girl wrote notes of cheer to each child in her class and presented the notes during morning meetings. She said that she saw some of her classmates being too hard on themselves, and she wanted to remind them how great they really were. This was totally unsolicited!

In K-5, students filled each others’ “buckets” left and right by announcing to their class when someone did a kind deed for them. Students in 3rd grade gave “compliment cards” to each other after book presentations. "                               "A group of 5th and 6th grade students visited their new senior friends at The Mayflower and helped them create fall decorations for their bedroom doors.

In her book, A Year of Kindness, psychologist Pamela Paresky points out that, in their humble, gracious ways, expressions of gratitude enliven any relationship. They make us feel better — happier, more optimistic, more connected, and more joyful. Studies reveal that doing things for others makes us happier. Whether you are young or old, helping a charity, performing public service, helping those in need, or saying or doing kind deeds for others are the keys to leading a meaningful life.

Cindy Moon

Head of School

The New Maker Space

Excitement is in the air! The new “Maker Space” at Park Maitland School is taking root in the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) movement of education. It provides a learning space in which students can tinker and make things while building 21st Century Learning skills like collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity!

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The 5 Blue class brainstorming their creative ideas in a one-of-a-kind workspace.

Initially, projects have focused on using the design process to collaborate and accomplish a goal! Some students worked together to design a packing envelope to successfully transport a fragile rice cake through the mail. After prediction and testing, students now await their packages to return to discover their design’s durability! Students even participated in a critique process with peers and learned to use feedback to improve their ideas. Some students used the design process to explore the world of robotics by creating robots with purposes, like robot pencil fans or robots that can make snow. They even created programmed art, such as polka dots or circles! Other students partnered up and acted as each other’s clients. They interviewed one another and created a design for the ideal “green” lounge chair. Over a series of interviews and developing small prototypes, the students have been actively creating chairs to please their “clients” and accomplish their goals. Students are excited about creating their line designs in our 3-D printer in upcoming projects. This tool will further propel our learning, design thinking, and innovation!

By equipping students with 21st Century Learning skills, developing in them a desire and passion to make, create, and innovate by using a design process, we are preparing them to tackle and valuably contribute to the ever-changing world around them!

Written by Evelyn McCulloch, Smart Tech Teacher and Lead Innovator

Shoelaces and Feet!

Blog4A    Shoelaces and feet were a big hit this week at Park Maitland! Why would feet be such a topic of conversation…such a focus point at school? Well, on Friday, they were the ticket to a wonderful beginning of a very special friendship and mentorship, or, should I say “relationship” between our 1st and 6th graders!

The anticipation has been building for weeks and climaxed on Friday when 1st grade students were finally able to meet their 6th grade Jelly Fudge Friends! I’m not sure who was more exciDSC_7199-Mted – the 1st or the 6th graders! 6th graders placed colored ribbon or shoelaces on their tennis shoes and gave the same ribbon to the first grade teachers to put on their little Jelly Fudge Friends’ shoes.

Throughout the day, the children were searching for the matching laces to find their special friends. Finally, the big moment came… Everyone gathered in the gym to match up laces and meet their Jelly Fudge Friends. After getting to know each other and taking”selfies” on their iPads, 6th graDSC_7231-XLders helped their new friends make ice cream sundaes!

The Jelly Fudge Friends (1st and 6th graders) meet throughout the year for shared reading, to make art projects, to play games, etc. You will see them hugging and holding hands all over campus each and every day.

This program gives our 6th graders the opportunity to gain confideBlog4Cnce, learn new responsibilities, and to be good role models! Out 1st graders get the “royal” treatment and quickly feel connected to their older friends with a wonderful sense of belonging and being an important part of our school. The friendships/relationships built through this experience last well beyond the Park Maitland years. Many students remain close well after they graduate!

Speaking of “foot” decorations, our K-4 students enjoyed “Funny Feet Friday” to celebrate meeting Mr. F. Students from all grades came to see them in their Funny Feet parade! There are boundless opportunities for our older students to share time with younger ones at Park Maitland School. I cannot think of a better way to learn responsibility and leadership!

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Cindy Moon

Head of School

 

Athletics Starting to Lead The Way

Not only are we growing leadeEA-Logo-00rs in the classroom, but we will now be growing them on and off the court/field. We are pleased to announce the Park Maitland Eagles interscholastic sports program. Our Athletic Program is lead by Mr. Rassa. He comes with great experience as he created a sports program prior at Paige Private School, as well as coaching at Trinity Prep. In our inaugural year we will be offering Volleyball, Flag-Football, and Basketball.

The Volleyball season has kicked-off and our Eagles posted an impressive showing as they defeated Brush Arbor in two games. We are very excited to be offering our sports program as it offers many life lessons such as teamwork, discipline, and leadership.volleyballgirls-00

Observing Excellence!

One of my greatest joys at Park Maitland is having the opportunity to visit the classes and observe your children “in action!”  I’ve spent a lot of time this week observing our students in and out of class.  In just three weeks into the new school yeBlog3Aar, it was amazing to see the enthusiasm, high level of engagement, collaboration among peers, teamwork, and learning that has already taken place!   From the excited K-4 students who met their new “letter people” friends, learned new swim strokes, recited color names in Spanish, and so much more to our proud 3rd graders boasting new backpacks and binders as they compared and contrasted maps and globes, began character analysis of “Lemonade Wars,” and learned about the history of our National Anthem in music class.

 

Our 6th grade “Super Seniors,” after an extravaganza of a beach overnight, presented their version of Abraham Lincoln’s assassination based on a recently read book, wrote persuasiBlog3Cve essays in history, and worked in teams to plan, draft, and design their own versions of fold up lounge chairs in our new “Maker Space.”  It is quite obvious that we continue our school-wide embrace of an ethic of excellence where students and teachers are engaged, employ high order thinking skills, collaborate, critique, plan and research, and commit to nothing less than the best in doing so.

This “ethic of excellence” — which I will be referring to often this year — is what we strive for each and every day in every part of our curriculum/program. It can happen in the classroom as well as on the field (or pool) in team sports.

Go Eagles!

I was honored to attend our very first Park Maitland interscholastic athletic competition yesterday!  Yes, it was our first big game of our first season of school-sponsored sports – girls’ volleyball!  Excellence was heard loud and clear!  We believe that Blog3Eparticipating in team sports, academic competitions, or teams in the classroom can teach values and life lessons that children can use in their teenage years and beyond: sportsmanship, teamwork, discipline, hard work, sacrifice, dealing with success and failure, setting and striving for goals, the value of practice, preparation, perseverance, and overcoming adversity.

During our first game, it was refreshing and enlightening to see these basic values come into play.  Our “emerging athletes” were guided and encouraged throughout both games with the goal of making this first ever experience a positive one where each participant was treated by teammates as an important part of the team, where the opponents were treated with respect, and where mistakes were used as “teachable moments.”  Our goal is that our young competitors or “teammates” — whether they are playing volleyball, flag football, basketball, swimming on our swim team, competing on our Math Counts team, or even working as a team member on a class project — learn to take pride in their accomplishments and those accomplishments of their teammates and pride in their improving skills, so that they see themselves as winners, even if the scoreboard doesn’t show the numbers g   oing in their favor._MG_0040

Too often, our society depends upon “the score” or “the grade” to define the meaning of excellence.  Scores and grades certainly do have a place among myriad other data in sports and in education — but they do not tell the whole story of individual or team success.  Our hope is that our students gradually come to understand that the real winners are those who know how to persevere, work hard, practice, set goals, and most of all, behave with dignity and respect whether they are successful that time or win or lose a game. At Park Maitland School, we focus on how we can bring out the best in your child on the field and in the classroom.  We believe that in order to create citizens who value respect, responsibility, integrity, compassion, and hard work, we need to create a school culture that models those attributes.

And the winner was…Park Maitland Eagles!

Many times, when you employ those values mentioned above, it leads to a win!  Congratulations, Eagles, on winning your very first match of the volleyball season!

 

Cindy Moon

Head of School