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"We can't say enough about what a wonderful experience our daughter has had at Renbrook. Our daughter has had a fantastic experience in the classroom, on the playing fields and making friends. As parents, we found it easy to get involved and meet people as well."

-Past Parent

Life @ the Brook Blog

List of 20 news stories.

  • Building Number Sense

    Dr. Kelly Bird
    Math happens everywhere in the Early Learning Center! Students are counting, estimating, and computing in the context of authentic daily tasks and experiences. Confident mathematicians need to develop a strong number sense in order to be successful long-term. While memorization of math facts is also important at this pivotal time, students relying solely on rote memorization can hit a wall, and number sense and more creative applications play an outsized role in student success.   
      
     
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  • Talking to Young Children About Death

    Dr. Kelly Bird
    “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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  • Rigor

    Julie Schlossinger
    Recently I read an article from U.S. News & World Report on how students can better manage an academically rigorous course load while maintaining a strong GPA. As those connected with education, kindergarten through higher ed, rigor is a term used often. Independent schools frequently use it in their mission statements and marketing materials. Programs, teachers, and/or curricula regularly are described as either rigorous or lacking thereof. There are countless studies and research articles touting the relevance and significance of rigor in 21st Century teaching and learning.  
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  • Black History: Beyond the Month of February

    Dr. Kelly Brd
    Black History Month was created to ensure due attention was given to the numerous and important contributions of people of African descent. The goal was not for discussions, research, and projects to start and end in February; Black history is American history and should be woven into conversations with children throughout the year.
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  • Self-Advocacy Shows Up in Several Ways for Young Children

    Dr. Kelly Bird
    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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  • Making Spaces

    Dr. Kelly Bird
    When a child is presented with materials and given support with how to use new tools, there is no limit to what they might create. Last week Junior Kindergarten teachers, Mrs. DeConti and Miss Blenman, offered a new making tray at one of their table centers as morning work. Mrs. DeConti presented a hole puncher and showed the students how to use it. There was no model of what their work should look like, just room and space for open-ended exploration and construction. On hand were mini clipboards and paper for those friends that wanted to sketch out their ideas before executing them!
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  • Facilitating Play, Assessing Learning, and Planning for Future Instruction

    Kelly Bird
    Renbrook’s commitment to play-based learning is based on the research that learning happens best when students are engaged in what they are doing; choice and the opportunity to direct their learning fuels this engagement.
    Read More
  • Building Literacy Skills Begins in Preschool

    Dr. Kelly Bird
    In our play-based program Preschool students learn to communicate and express their needs and feelings to teachers and peers. During meeting times, students begin to express themselves as they share their thoughts and ideas with the group. Children listen to a variety of literature, developing their vocabulary as well as print and phonemic awareness. Preschoolers begin to take note of environmental print, looking for their name tags as well as matching pictures with words. They sing songs to understand how words are strung together and build their background knowledge through theme-related studies which will later help them recognize new words as they begin to read.
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  • Happy Diwali

    Belonging

    Julie Schlossinger
    Recently, many people around the globe celebrated Diwali, the Festival of Lights. Diwali for Hindus is similar in importance as Christmas for Christians.  Ms. Raghuvir, Renbrook’s Lower School Counselor, helped set up a Happy Diwali display right inside the entrance to the Nelson Building during that week. There were photos, diyas and LED tea light candles, and books.
     
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  • Please & Thank You

    Julie Schlossinger, Head of Lower School
    Returning to the servery this school year has been absolutely wonderful. Not only are we getting the students and teachers out of their classrooms, but they are also provided so many healthy and yummy choices this year. Because we are operating in the servery and dining rooms during a pandemic, we have implemented several health and safety measures. One of those measures is moving eight grade levels through one-at-a-time. In order to manage that many servery sessions, we’ve made some changes this year to be more efficient. One of my roles to help expedite movement through the servery is parsing out around 120 sets of silverware (fork, knife, and spoon wrapped in a napkin) to the students in the Lower School through four lunch waves. We also have Mrs. Murray and Ms. Pina who help pour and serve many, many milks, juices, and waters for the students each day.
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  • Feedback

    Julie Schlossinger< Head of Lower School
    During a recent Lower School Faculty meeting, teachers viewed Austin’s Butterfly: Models, Critique, and Descriptive Feedback. This video, created by EL Education, a non-profit organization which began out of a collaboration of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and Outward Bound in the 1990s, provides insight for teachers and students regarding how critique and feedback, through the process of multiple iterations, can transform student work. After the video, teachers read Seven Keys to Effective Feedback by Grant Wiggins and discussed the important and critical components of feedback: goal-referenced, tangible and transparent, actionable, user-friendly, timely, ongoing, and consistent.  
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  • Be Kind

    Julie Schlossinger
    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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  • Professional Development

    Julie Schlossinger, Head of Lower School
    A friend who publishes an oncology journal recently shared with me that they had just returned from hosting a group of doctors in Kiawah, SC for a few days for some professional development and golf. It was very strange and a little funny to hear the term “professional development” used in a context not pertaining to teachers. Of course, I know that those in the medical field participate in ongoing training and education, so I wondered why that comment about professional development (PD) for folks outside of the educational landscape landed on me as it did.
    Read More
  • Welcome to Turtle Town

     

    A Beautiful Place for an Outdoor Classroom Where Project-Based Learning Thrives

    Kathy Greene and Robbie Saal spend several hours each week with their Kindergarten students exploring, working, and playing in their outdoor classroom named Turtle Town. When the children first visited this beautiful outdoor space, they asked, “Why is the classroom called Turtle Town?” Mrs. Saal then shared with the class a piece of Renbrook history. Many years ago, when a Beginning School class was working in this outdoor space, they found a box turtle. They had fun imagining turtles living there and decided to name the space Turtle Town.
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  • Musings on Math

    Julie Schlossinger, Lower School Head
    Last night my son texted me and asked when I would be coming home. I responded letting him know an approximate time and asked him why he wanted to know. Usually, his answer is because he’s hungry, but last night, it was because he needed help with his math homework. Now it’s very possible that I may have stayed at work longer than I needed, and I also may have taken the long way home, but let’s just keep that to ourselves! 
    Read More
  • Family Book Boxes

    Love Makes a Family

    Dr. Kelly Bird
    Helping young children understand the differences and similarities between their families strengthens their sense of identity and helps them grow into empathetic friends and classmates. At the Early Learning Center, we find many ways to help children talk about their families and to foster inclusivity and belonging.
    Read More
  • Hispanic Heritage Month

    Señora Camila Pina
    Between September 15 and October 15, Americans all over the country celebrate National Hispanic American month. This observation, started in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson, pays tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation. During the month of observance, several Latin American countries celebrate their independence, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Chile. 
     
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  • Parent-Teacher Partnerships

    Julie Schlossinger
    During our recent Parents’ Night, I spoke about teachers in terms of their sincere commitment to their students’ growth and development, and how they chose a teaching career because they care about the outcomes of others. I also touched on the importance of continuing to build a strong parent/teacher partnership on behalf of the students. What I’d like to speak to now is the role of the parent in this critical relationship.  
    Read More
  • Feedback

    Julie Schlossinger
    During the Lower School Faculty meeting recently, teachers viewed Austin’s Butterfly: Models, Critique, and Descriptive Feedback. This video, created by EL Education, a non-profit organization which began out of a collaboration of Harvard’s Graduate School of Education and Outward Bound in the 1990s, provides insight for teachers and students regarding how critique and feedback, through the process of multiple iterations, can transform student work. After the video, teachers read Seven Keys to Effective Feedback by Grant Wiggins and discussed the important and critical components of feedback: goal-referenced, tangible and transparent, actionable, user-friendly, timely, ongoing, and consistent.  
    Read More
  • The Gifts of Recess 

    Julie Schlossinger
    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.  
     
     
    Read More
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Renbrook School is a co-ed private day school serving students in Preschool - Grade 8 in West Hartford, CT.
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