It’s a time to be nervous and excited. Feel dreadfully unprepared and yet oh so ready to embrace the children yet again. Ready or not, students arrive tomorrow!
Our new teachers started their orientation on Tuesday, and were joined by the veteran teachers on Thursday. We’ve used this time to do a lot of community-building, re-forming a solid team that will support each other and create an integrated learning environment for our students. We’ve also gone over details, changes, plans, and some new learning along the way. Some of the highlights have included:
- Full-day retreat at the beautiful Valle Escondido, where the owner gave us a tour of the sustainable permaculture design projects woven throughout the campus (including plans for a hot tub heated by bio-gas from human waste…). The staff photo above was taken at one of their overlooks. Near the end, as we discussed how to integrate curriculum across subject areas, the fog/clouds were literally rolling through the classroom.
- A walk around our own school campus with biologist and Monteverde Friends Meeting member Dev Joslin, who taught us about the precious resource that our school resides on. He pointed out trees that are flowering 100 feet above our heads this year, which will therefore bear fruit next year and bring back the bellbirds. We learned that only 5% of this “pre-mountain humid zone” is still the original virgin forest, including ours. We began a very difficult exploration of how to honor and protect this resource while also honoring the children’s natural desire to play and learn to love the forest through active interaction. A topic we’ll continue to explore throughout the year.
- A welcome-back lunch for all staff together with all new families, followed by a talk about Costa Rican culture from Evelyn Obanda – school committee member and kindergarten parent.
We are thankful to parents who came twice last week to help wash windows, brush spider webs, and get the classroom ready. Teachers will be mostly in their classrooms today putting the final touches to their room and lessons plans. Tomorrow, children will arrive to a clean campus and cohesive team ready to dive back into another great year of learning and growing together.