The school year is off to a wonderful start and the students are settled back into the routines of their classrooms. It is a true joy to welcome them into our building each morning and to receive a warm smile and a firm handshake from so many. With this, I realize the depth of the opportunity we have before us as parents and educators with our young students for no matter the age they are all open to learning, hungry for knowledge and willing to be exposed to new concepts, ideas and opinions.
As I embark on my fifth year leading Alcuin and we enter year two of our accreditation process with the Independent Schools of the Central States and the American Montessori Society, my goal this year is to give back to our greater community. Montessori believed that a peaceful world could be created by children, and part of that peace is brought on by the helping of others. Throughout the school year there will be opportunities for students, parents and staff to learn about different groups in need of our philanthropic efforts. In early September we kicked off our endeavor with a school-wide celebration of the International Day of Peace. We erected our new peace pole and sang a beautiful song about peace. It was a very moving way to start the school year and set the tone for things to come. The children have already had many conversations around the pole discussing what peace means them.
Our first community event of the school year was dedicated to helping the Binky Patrol, an organization which provides comforting blankets to children in hospitals or who are homeless. The community gathered early one Friday morning and made blankets for those children. It was amazing to see our older students teaching the younger ones how to make the blankets, and also to see how easily the community of parents, children and staff could create so many blankets! In the span of 30 minutes, thirteen blankets were made which were later boxed and shipped off to the Binky Patrol’s Illinois branch.
In November our focus was on the children of the Montessori School of Englewood, a public Montessori School that was opened just a few short years ago. Our children at every level in the school are exposed to and research many different cultures. Spanish teacher, Rita Cassiano, and art teacher, Sophia Lyman, organized this event where our families collected gently used cultural books to donate to the Montessori School of Englewood. Our children also spent the morning reading cultural books in Spanish and making cards to send along with the books.
It is with great joy that I lead this school of generous spirits and kind-hearted community members. We are looking forward to celebrating our year of giving back to the greater community and all the possibilities for learning that these opportunities will bring to us all.
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