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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.

  • Making: An Iterative Process Presents Opportunities for Learning 

    Dr. Kelly Bird 
    “What was a challenge you had today, and how did you solve it?”  
     
    This is how we end our STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) classes in kindergarten. The students circle up, and a few friends volunteer to share what problem they encountered and how they went about solving it. By helping students to see the opportunities for learning that come with mistakes or failures, we are affirming one of our guidelines for STEAM class, “Enjoy the process!” 
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  • Did the Pandemic Interrupt Your Child’s Social, Speech, and Motor Development? 

    Dr. Kelly Bird
    We recently had the pleasure of hearing from a panel of therapists with whom we work closely to support the language and social and emotional development of our students here at Renbrook. We partner with these professionals to develop a child's toolbox of strategies for success and to educate our teachers to incorporate these strategies into the classroom. We know that children thrive when we function as a team.
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  • Why I Teach by Nancy Reynolds

    Nancy Reynolds, Grade 1 Teacher
    I always felt lucky, that at an early age I knew what I wanted to be when I “grew up.” I was extremely shy in elementary school, I remember clinging to my mother’s legs and running after her back then, as if it was the end of the world. But low and behold, I felt the caring of teachers around me, who were kind and attentive, and made me see school as a happy place – a place that felt safe and comfortable, almost like home.
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  • Sleep

    Julie Schlossinger, Head of Lower School
    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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  • Friend Wanted

    Julie Schlossinger, Head of Lower School
    At Lower School Assembly, third-grade students recently shared excerpts from their “Friend Wanted” ads, a beginning of the school year writing activity. I enjoyed reading through all the ads and learning more about what each student desires in a friend. Some of my favorite excerpts are:
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  • Columbus Day

    Julie Schlossinger, Head of Lower School
    As you know, school is closed on Monday due to Columbus Day, a federal holiday in the United States which celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492. As a child in America, I sat in my elementary classrooms around Columbus Day and learned about the Niῆa, Pinta, and Santa María. In music class, I learned songs about those ships, and my teacher read picture books that taught me about an adventurous and brave explorer who “discovered” America.
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  • Building your Child’s Social-Emotional Muscles

    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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  • Play is the Work of Children

    Dr. Kelly Bird 
    As parents, we often worry. Will my child ever stop crying at drop-off? Will they learn their letters? Will they write their name? Will they learn to read? The answer is yes. They will do all of these things. If we can remember this, it will allow us to take a deep breath, model calmness for our children, and allow them to enjoy where they are developmentally. 
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  • 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.
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  • 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.
    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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