December HEADlines

Christopher B. Williamson

So much for a long, gentle fall! As a reminder, we have families who live in over 30 communities in two states. We make the best call we can, usually following Fitchburg Public School’s lead. If we elect to hold school or have a delayed opening but you do not feel conditions are safe in your area, please exercise your discretion.

Parent Conferences and the Fall Sports Banquet each in their own way reinforce how well our faculty know and believe in our students. That results in our students confidently taking on the challenge of being effective learners. The brain may be “a learning engine,” as Bob Greenleaf told our faculty a few years ago. It nevertheless needs to be tuned correctly, properly fueled and well lubricated (to continue the metaphor) or it sputters, coughs and can even seize up.  Our emphasis on having our students consciously think about how they are learning and what is working for them helps them “drive” their “learning engine.” Having the confidence to try, knowing that they are in an environment in which it is safe to make mistakes (and that these are necessary for progress), and being with a peer group that values positive growth – these assure that the learning engine hums.

On occasion, there may be interferences in learning, just as there may be interferences with playing a sport. Some children take longer to master some skills. This is all part of what makes each of us part of the smorgasbord of humanity that together enriches us all. When interferences crop up, the partnership with parents is most important. Sometimes the interferences are learning based, sometimes social/emotional, sometimes simply developmental. Because we know our students well, we can identify these moments when the learning engine may be starting to cough well before it stalls. It is such a privilege to have the chance to work with our families on behalf of our students.

We enjoyed the opening of our drama season with the fourth and fifth grade Radio Play It’s a Wonderful Life on Wednesday. These plays offer another way for our students to learn about themselves and each other in addition to developing specific skills. The actors own the space and are  responsible and accountable. They also gain practice performing in front of an audience, almost subliminally in the Radio Play as they focus on sound effects and music. This ability to present in public is one of the skills that Applewild students carry with them throughout their lives. The opportunity to come together as a community to enjoy a dinner before the show further affirms our sense of community – and the energy in the Dining Hall was palpable! I look forward to what the rest of our drama season brings (including a make up performance of Wonderful Life for our school community next week).

It is, in fact, a wonderful life at Applewild. We have several Thanksgiving related activities next week, including our all school feast and the sixth grade Hunger Banquet. I hope that you all enjoy a peaceful, regenerative Thanksgiving with family and friends. Do be careful to “re-fuel” in moderation, if possible!

Taylor Poucel