Think Outside the Box

December 22, 2022
Recently, several teachers assigned a “Think Outside the Box Thursday” exercise for their students upon arrival to the classroom. When I dropped into the classrooms, hearing what each student created out of two simple lines on a blank piece of paper confirmed that our teachers continue to provide unique ways for our students to develop further problem-solving and creativity skills. Those skills have been identified as having a significant impact on college achievement and future work success.
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Alarm Clock on Bed


October 24, 2022
Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine note, “Elementary school-age children who get less than nine hours of sleep per night have significant differences in certain brain regions responsible for memory, intelligence, and well-being compared to those who get the recommended nine to 12 hours of sleep per night.” There were over 8,300 children who participated in their study. The researchers used MRIs, medical records, and surveys over a two-year period. They were particularly concerned to see that children who slept, on average, less than nine hours a night not only had less gray matter than their peers who slept nine or more hours but that the volume of gray matter remained low at the two years mark. Essentially, gray matter should increase during the elementary years until it peaks around 13 years of age.
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Building your Childā€™s Social-Emotional Muscles

October 7, 2022
As parents, we often want to protect our child from feelings like frustration and sadness. However, we need them to experience a large range of emotions, because it isn’t until they have experienced them that they learn how to regulate them. 
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Talking to Young Children About Death

March 30, 2022
“We have to move the worm out of the road even though it’s dead. If a car smushes it, it can’t become food for a bird!” – Junior Kindergarten student  
The time our ELC students spend outdoors introduces them to all kinds of nature’s beautiful creatures. It also brings them face to face with the fact that all living things are born, and, also, must die. This reflection by one of Ed Donahue’s students last year reminds us how students’ intimacy with the outdoors serves to normalize this stage of life. Of course, when facing the death of an individual the conversation feels more complicated. One must balance the reality of death and the emotions that accompany it.  
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Self-Advocacy Shows Up in Several Ways for Young Children

January 6, 2022
Having complicated conversations with children can feel challenging because we aren’t sure what they are ready for and because our own feelings often permeate the conversation.  As educators we respond to the questions that children bring us and we do our best to answer only what they have asked. As children are ready for more, they will ask more. We, too, have moments of uncertainty about how to answer their questions as we balance the needs of everyone in the room. It is perfectly ok to say, “That is a great question. I’d like to think about it more and come back to you.” Likewise, if you don’t feel you answered something well, you can always say, “You asked me something yesterday and I’d like to talk about it some more.” Silence is the least healthy alternative because it leaves children to answer their own questions without enough context. 
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Be Kind

November 8, 2021

Please indulge me for a moment as I share an excerpt of a poem with you. I share this not simply because I think it’s amazing and that it’s one of my very favorites, but because it supports our “Be…” theme for November in the Lower School. And, today happens to be the start of World Kindness Week.

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The Gifts of RecessĀ 

September 17, 2021
Often when I speak with elementary age children and ask what their favorite subject is in school, the answer most frequently given is… recess. At one time, I hoped I would hear math, reading, or writing, but 9 out of 10 times, it was always recess. It’s actually comical to watch the doors open to the playground and see so many children run out squealing with their arms open wide as if they are hugging the air. It’s such a common behavior and a true gift that brings me joy every time I see it. At this point in my career, I no longer wish to hear the words math, reading, or writing when I ask that question. You see, I now know that recess is a truly significant and important class for our students and one that should not be overlooked.  
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Back to School Musings

September 13, 2021
How is it that first days of school continue to cause butterflies and excitement in those of us who have been teaching for many, many years? It has been more than twenty-five years for me, yet I continue to experience similar feelings each year, both the night before and the morning of. There are countless picture books about this phenomenon. In fact, there’s a great one titled, “Butterflies on the First Day” by Annie Silvestro that almost all teachers have and bring out to read to their new classes on the first day.  
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Play-Based Learning at Renbrook School

March 8, 2021

Play-based learning at Renbrook is balanced with direct instruction to support students’ social, emotional, and intellectual development. Although learning through play looks different than more traditional learning experiences that many of us may be familiar with, it is learning that happens within a meaningful context. Students take ownership over constructing their own understanding and knowledge and because of that it sticks and becomes internalized.  

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The Renbrook Family – We All Have a Part to Play

February 1, 2020
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The Worry Cycle

February 12, 2019

The Worry Cycle
by Kara Ashley
Upper School Head

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A Want vs. A Need

November 28, 2018

5th graders worked with Junior Kindergarten to learn about the Gifts of Love program and the difference between wants and needs.

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Exhale to the count of five….

September 27, 2018

Mrs. Cooper shows our 2nd graders the importance of our breath and how it calms us down and keeps us focused. Did you know that if we were to open your lungs flat it would cover the size of a tennis court? 

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