The start of the school year means the return to a familiar environment for some members of our community. But it also means the start of a new adventure for a large number of our students. Eleven new students joined Hillside Student Community School this year. That’s a third of our student body.
Greeting friends old and new consumes the first few minutes of day one, but soon the attention shifts to organized activities designed to strengthen relationships. Social emotional well-being remains a fundamental component of education particularly in a small school setting that relies heavily on social constructivism.
The term ‘social constructivism’ shapes how we learn together. It is through our interaction with each other that we build our knowledge of the world. That can mean a large group of students standing on a tarp with the goal of turning it over without using their hands and avoiding stepping on the floor.
In a pair-work it means one blindfolded student being guided by another through the process of building a house. With the verbal instructions provided by the sighted partner, the temporarily non-sighted individual puts together the Leggo pieces. The end products vary in size and shape. Some have trees. Others have long corridors and still another has a slide.
Placed together in a neighborhood the creations reflect the diversity of a real human community. The parallels are plenty. Some are large. Others are small. Some are in need of repair.
Exploring the world beyond our walls includes field trips. In the first week of school two groups of students traveled to the Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. This trip allowed students in our elementary section to use descriptive language featuring their five senses to describe the iconic location.
Older students in the videography class went to the Pike Place Market in search of footage to tell short video stories of a special place in the NW. From shopkeepers, to tourists, to street performers, the Market provides a visual feast.
While we know the value of traveling together to explore our environment and working together to create a new product, we are mindful that humans often need the serenity of silence to work alone to transform small ideas into large realities. Our job as parents and teachers is to find the right balance of group work and individual work. If we find that right harmony, the possibilities are almost unlimited. It’s going to be a great year!
- Thursday, 7 September Curriculum Night
- Saturday, 16 September Community Building Day
- Wednesday, 20 September Last day of electives
- Thursday, 21 September Start of Block 1A
- Tuesday, 26 September School Photo Day