Friday, January 27, 2012


Thank you from all the faculty and staff to our amazing parents - for the wonderful luncheon!  The gift to Heifer International in our honor for honey bee programs in needy villages was also so very thoughtful.  We feel very appreciated!  And also very full!  :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Finding the perfect chocolate chip cookie

Parker family in the news: This is a great story about a chocolate chip cookie project, chemistry, and kids!  Video.

Monday, January 23, 2012

A Spanish connection

Off to points East!  Spain to be exact.  Susie Merrett, our Associate Director and art teacher, and Sarah Biondello, language arts teacher, are visiting St. Peter's School in Barcelona as the beginning of an exchange that we hope will include other teachers and students.  They will be teaching a lesson and are bringing letters from Parker students for the Spanish students.  Barcelona native and former Parker teacher of math and science, Teresa Ferrer-Mico, has coordinated the visit. 

Read all about their adventures on the school's blog, I Love Mondays at St. Peter's School, and on Susie's trip blog, Spanish Connection

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

A nuanced approach

Design, build, test, and then back to the drawing board. 

This New York Times Sunday Review article The Rise of the New Groupthink explores the currently popular notion that group work is essential for creative thinking.  Author Susan Cain argues that the most creative ideas sometimes come from solitary thinkers.  Can we find a balance of both in a classroom setting? 

Social connections motivate and add to learning's excitement, and to "Ah ha's!"  And great satisfaction can also come from working and re-working a problem on your own and finally solving it.  Cain says, "Our schools should teach children to work with others, but also to work on their own for sustained periods of time -  a more nuanced approach to creativity and learning."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Ethics cuts across the culture at school

It doesn't feel like winter, but the Winter Fridays program at Parker keeps us grounded in the season.  In kindergarten through 8, students choose a variety of activities from swimming, dance, skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing.  Mixed age groups head out on six successive Friday afternoons to learn something new, build confidence and have fun.  The dedication of teachers and parent chaperones makes the program work.

Our teachers have had training from the Institute for Global Ethics and we receive their e-newsletters.  This is a list of their recommendations for building an ethical school culture.  I think we are doing pretty well!

7 ways to make ethics a cross-cutting dimension of your school culture:
  1. Emphasize play.
  2. Recognize and embrace the individuality of learners.
  3. Ask “why” as often as possible.
  4. Explicitly teach self-reflection.
  5. Encourage personalized learning experiences in place of “one size fits all.”
  6. Plan carefully for each individual learner.
  7. Avoid standardized content—it’s an invitation to cheat.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Let's get out!

It's always good to know that we're on the right track.  Read about how Playtime for Preschoolers is essential in CNN Health.

Michele Ridgeway, one of our teachers for Pre K 3's and 4's is keeping a blog about Friday afternoons in the woods with the children.  She has tapped into a world wide trend in forest schools.  Here's her blog: Pre K Planet Parker.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Fanning the spark

Happy New Year - happy to be back in school! 

In an article in the latest Independent School magazine, neurophychologist William Stixrud is quoted with a recipe for highly motivated students: "What schools and parents should strive for is a 'flow experience,' where kids are highly focused, making a high level of effort, while also experiencing high enjoyment coupled with low stress."  The article suggests ways we all (parents, teachers, and administrators) can create learning that nurtures a spark in students that will serve them well for life. 

Resolved for the new year: fan the spark!