Williamsburg Trip – Day 2

3Hi!  My name is Conner V., and I am the reporter for the second day of our Williamsburg trip.

Today on our trip, we drove to Richmond to see a re-enactment of the 2nd Virginia Convention at St. John’s Episcopal Church.  This is the actual church where Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” speech was given. The actors in olden day clothing pretended to be some of our 2most famous Americans such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Watching this presentation made me feel strengthened that I am an American and proud that these men all worked for my freedom.   It also made me realize that sometimes war is the only answer to earn this freedom.

Next we drove on to Charlottesville where we had lunch at the historic Michie Tavern.  We enjoyed a real Southern meal of fried chicken and black eyed peas! I also enjoyed shopping here and seeing lots of handmade crafts and toys and even bought a very cool fountain pen as a souvenir.  After shopping, we drove up to Monticello and took a tour of the famous home of Thomas Jefferson. I was very amazed and impressed that Thomas Jefferson was interested in so many different things.  I really liked all of his gadgets that he invented like the polygraph which helped him duplicate what he was writing.  He also invented the bed in the wall which let him enter a different room on each side of the bed!   That night we ate dinner at the Seasons Restaurant in downtown Williamsburg.  After dinner, we went to an African American Music 1program where we formed a big circle around a bon fire and sang and danced and learned about the lives of slaves during the 1600’s.

From our tours today, I learned that music was extremely important in the lives of the slaves.  It helped them to keep a rhythm while they were doing their work such as farming.   It also helped them with their sorrows by bringing comfort during sad times.  I also learned that Thomas Jefferson built his house around classical Roman styling.  He was the first person to use domes in a house in America which is what makes it so different and beautiful.

This has been the most amazing trip so far and makes me really happy that I have returned to my country’s birthplace to see what life was really like back then.

-Conner V.

 

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Williamsburg Trip – Day 1

My name is Hafsa C.  Today in Williamsburg we went to Jamestown and visited interesting places like the Powhatan Indian village, the Jamestown Fort, the Archerarium, and the Glasshouse. Since today was the first day I wasn’t used to the walking tours, and the tour guides walkedpicture 2 really fast
but taught us a lot about Jamestown. Even though we had just gotten off the airplane and my ears were still popping, I heard most of the tour. The most exciting part of the day for me was the re-enactment of the witch trial with Grace Sherwood where we had to find her guilty or not guilty. In the end, she was found guilty!

My favorite part of the day was this re-enactment of the witch trial. The actors were amazing and the scenes were perfect. And I thought the lawyer was very believable for back then. It was really interesting learning about the trials and how they helped decide if you were a witch by tying the “witches” up and seeing if they floated in a weird way, or if they couldn’t say the Lord’s Prayer without fainting.  Grace Sherwood failed both of the tests. picture 1

Something fun we did was watch how the Powhatan Indians lived. Their life was much different than the English colonists. An interesting part was watching them make their clothes and their Yahawkins. It was so much fun watching how they lived in the 1600’s.

 

~Hafsa

Salute to our Veteran’s

IMG_8779-S[1]With all the negative hype about politicians, our country’s dismal economic stature, and the strong divide between parties, it’s refreshing to see that love and pride for our country are still strong! This week, we enjoyed honoring our heroes, the United States veterans during our annual Veteran’s Day ceremony! It was heartwarming to see the pride in the faces of our many honored veterans and the looks IMG_8694-X3[1]of respect and awe in the faces of our students as stories were told, songs were sung, poetry recited, lessons taught, flags folded, ROTC marching, scouts leading, veterans sharing, and so much more — all in honor of the special men and women who have or are still sacrificing so much for our freedom!

Colonel Redmond, our passionate keynote speaker, honored and decorated U.S. veteran, author, and proud father of Ms. Kathy Parkins, beloved K-5 teacher.  Read more about his book “A Dusty Boot Soldier Remembers” at www.dustybootsoldier.com.

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A Special Thanks to…

  • Drill Sergeant Foley for working with the scouts on flag protocol and the donation of new U.S. flags to our school.
  • The many honored veterans who attended the ceremony and allowed us to pay our deepest respect and gratitude! You are our heroes!

Patriotism and respect for our country and its history remain a valuable and integral part of our school curriculum and our daily celebrations as we
work to prepare our students to be productive and successful leaders of tomorrow. Yes, patriotism is alive and well at Park Maitland School!

God Bless America…
Cindy Moon
Head of School

Our heartfelt support and condolences go out to

victims of the Paris attack and their families.

“There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”

— Howard Zinn

Positive Communication

How many times have you done or said something in front of your child that you wouldn’t want them to repeat? I can tell you that I have not been a “perfect” parent and am certainly guilty of that behavior. There were times when my children were growing up that I caught myself, or, better yet, my children caught me doing something that they_MG_7874 knew was not right. The stress or mounting pressure of the day got the best of me, and I would embarrass myself in some way or another by doing or saying something that I would quickly regret. Luckily, I would have the good sense to recover by apologizing and pointing out what I did that was wrong and teaching by a “non-example.”

In the book Uncle Dan’s Report Card, Barbara Unell points out that, “We all know that children learn by watching the adults in their world, so it is imperative to develop your own habits of kindness. Your model and that of teachers, baby-sitters, grandparents, and child care providers are the most important influences in training your children how to behave kindly each day.”

One challenge today in teaching kindness or empathy is the hardwired culture in which we live. Emailing, texting, and tweeting are the wave of the present as well as the future. In _MG_7855this day and age, society tries to find the easiest and fastest method of checking things off a list or communicating one’s thoughts. This method of communication (emailing) is commonplace between teachers and parents here at Park Maitland, and 98% of the time it is a productive and positive interchange that facilitates helpful communication. However, communicating only in this fashion can lack the emotional connection of face to face contact. At times, what is being communicated may be misconstrued. In an effort to maximize productive communication at Park Maitland School, we ask that you always take a moment to evaluate the content and tone of your message to assure that it is respectful and productive.

As your child looks up to you for guidance in social behavior, it’s important that you strive to model positive communication between home and school. Likewise, it is important for them to see that you support their school’s mission, and when or if you disagree, that you will seek the best possible approach in communicating your thoughts and ideas.

As challenging as it may be in today’s fast-paced and sometimes stressful _MG_7873society (believe me I learned the hard way!), strive to consciously and intentionally speak and practice the virtues you seek to instill in your child in order to build a solid foundation of strong character traits.

We look forward to having you join us in this week’s upcoming Parent Chat, based on Uncle Dan’s Report Card, where topics of raising children who can thrive in the 21st Century will be discussed. We are thrilled to announce that Tuesday morning’s chat is full, but it’s not too late to sign up for Monday evening’s chat.

Thank your for your continued support as we partner in the education of your child.

Cindy Moon

Head of School

How We Treat Each Other

“Kindness is the basis of all the social virtues — politeness, gentleness, cheerfulness, unselfishness, trustworthiness, a sense of responsibility, honor, chivalry, democracy, and self-sacrifice.” –A quote from Uncle Dan’s Report Card taken from The Mother’s Book written in 1909  IMG_2570

I have the wonderful privilege of serving on the Peace and Justice Advisory Council. This group is comprised of notable leaders throughout Central Florida representing higher
education, local government, various religious organizations, nonprofits, media personalities, etc.   We gather to discuss how to create cultures of peace within our own communities, the extended community, and beyond.

This week, we asked a group of sixth grade students to review the foundational principles of a document called, “How We Treat Each Other” prepared by the Peace and Justice Initiative through Valencia College. They were challenged to review _DSC2285these 13 principles and create a document that could be used with children their age.  We were impressed and awestruck by the depth of their conversations and their ability to rationalize and articulate the importance of these basic ideas.  Below is a copy of their “version.”    `

  1. Welcome everyone and create a community of respect. Be kind to others and invite them to share.
  2. Listen deeply. Put yourself in their shoes and listen to the feelings beneath the words for as long as it takes.  Do this without passing judgment because ALL voices have value.
  3. Have a voice. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Say what is in your heart honestly and respectfully.
  4. Respect privacy. Be a trusting friend by not sharing what people have said to you or in a group.  Create a safe space where everyone can share their thoughts and ideas freely.
  5. Celebrate diversity. Value each person inside and out because differences are an amazing way for us to understand people for who they really are.
  6. Slow down.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Take your time to think before you act or speak.

In her book, Uncle Dan’s Report Card, Barbara Unell references a quote written in 1909 that was placed on an elementary report card.  “It has doubtless come within the observation of every teacher that the AmericanIMG_4589 youth is not at all times as courteous and kind as he ought to be…”  Habits of kindness mattered “then,” and habits of kindness matter now.  As parents and educators, it is even more of a challenge to reinforce these habits in our fast paced, highly competitive, media inundated, hardwired culture of today. However, I know that there is great hope for the future.  The six principles above offered by 11 year old children is just one indication.

Thanks for partnering with us on this journey,

Cindy Moon

Head of School

Evenings Together

As a child and teenager growing up, evening dinner was a sacred time for my family.  I remember making sure that I was at the table and fully engaged in discussion.IMG_9302-X2 Anything less than that would have been disrespectful. Over homemade spaghetti and meatballs, meatloaf, and mashed potatoes, or more elaborate Italian or Lebanese dishes prepared by my mother, we would talk through the day’s events. Although I was highly involved in extracurricular activities, I somehow made it home for this ritual.

As a parent, however, I must admit finding the time for a family meal during the school week was more difficult. As working parents with two children involved in sports activities or clubs, we found ourselves on many nights eating on the run or separately. Those all important get-togethers became less and less frequent. If I could go back and do it all over, I would look long and hard at how to change this.

Why “Evenings at Home” matter today…

Barbara Unell points out in her book, Uncle Dan’s Report Card that children today have a tremendous array of evening activities outside the home available to them, mostly because of easy access to_DSC2139 lighting and transportation.  The number of activities, along with the access to a variety of electronic devices that take children’s attention away from home and family, suggest that “Evenings at Home” have a different priority for parents today.

Current research makes a convincing argument for spending evenings at home together.  According to statistics reported by Ms. Unell, one of the greatest predictors of good behavior and academic achievement in school is the family dinner.  Children who eat dinner with the family at least three times a week are better behaved and achieve at a higher level than those who don’t.

Join us at one of the Uncle Dan’s Report Card chats in October to participate in lively discussion and hear from experts on best child-rearing practices.  Remember, the first 200 people who sign up will receive a free Uncle Dan’s Report Card book.IMG_3079-X2 You can RSVP online now!  I hope to see many families come together to discuss common parenting issues of today and yesteryear.  It takes a village!

Thanks for joining us in this venture!

Cindy Moon

Head  of School

Uncle Dan’s Report Card

2015-05-12-094149(DSC_1411)-X3   As my own children were growing up, I can honestly say that I sometimes questioned my decision making as a parent. My husband and I would sometimes feel that we made more mistakes than not. Being a parent is by far the most important calling and, at the same time, rewarding “challenge” that you may ever have. There were days of the forgotten lunch box, misplaced uniform piece, or even lost and (yes) not completed homework and/or test preparation…not to mention the best friend arguments _MG_6847-X2or hurts of not being invited to a party or losing a game, not getting that all important A+ and more! All these little things can make you shudder and, at the time, assume that you are a failure as a parent. How can we handle these “growing pains” with our children and help contribute to their strength of character as
a person?

At Park Maitland, we can easily boast of the excellent job we do of developing our children’s intellect. But, equally or even more important, is how we develop their character. This challenge requires the partnership and efforts of all the adults in a child’s life — teachers, parents, and the school.

As a learning community, Park Maitland is always searching for ways to engage our teachers and staff in ongoing professional development and education. We are always IMG_9222-X3asking — how can we do the very best for every single child at Park Maitland School?

We know that, in order to be exceptional educators, we must be committed to lifelong learning. Book studies are just one avenue which allows teachers to engage and learn about current trends and academic literature. One of our best “reads” was a book chosen this past summer called Uncle Dan’s Report Card. We chose this book DSC_0110-X2because itresonated with our mission of educating the whole child, and it also showed us that some of Park Maitland’s traditional teachings or core values are as timeless and relevant today as they were almost a century ago. Our teachers and staff had the opportunity to meet with the author of this great read and quickly realized that our parents would also enjoy being involved in discussions and conversations related to the key points of this book.

Please look for information regarding our October Parent Chat entitled “Uncle Dan’s Report Card!” We are giving the book away to the first 200 people who sign up to be a part of this pertinent discussion.

We sometimes feel “alone” in our decision making as parents. Raising a happy and successful child today is no small task. Join us in discussions about how we can work together with our toddlers to teens to help them be confident and successful personally and academically.2015-05-12-113550(DSC_2172)-X3

Cindy Moon

Head of School