February 09th, 2022
The school is having a birthday! - Finlay
Birthdays at St. John's are a cherished celebration, a large component of our school's identity and are a wonderful representation of our values. The way we prepare and celebrate each birthday at St. John's reflects the uniqueness of each individual and every birthday is a meaningful and joyful occasion. The core of the celebration values generosity, empathy and knowing each other deeply.
This year, St. John's will be celebrating its 25th birthday on March 4th. To celebrate this milestone in the school's life, every classroom is exploring the meaning of it.
our new school birthday calendar
Look at all the numbers here! That’s crazy. Our friends, people who have a birthday, the school friends. - Saul
It’s all of ours. All of the St. John’s people. - Wilder
It’s the people in the school! - Bea
This is everybody’s birthdays and what they got. - Bea
But Jordan didn’t get anything? Jordan got nothing for his birthday! - Lily (sees Jordan’s blank space under his photo)
No… his birthday is not yet. - Remy (concluding that maybe Jordan hasn't had a birthday yet, a possible reason for the blank space)
Is Audrey on here? Everybody’s on here! - Lily
The stuff they got is gonna go in the squares. - Bea (concluding that photos of the birthday gifts will go on blank spaces for upcoming birthdays)
The school has those ginkgos. It always has ginkgos. - Wilder (gingko symbol on school birthday space)
A birthday calendar can be used to interpret and keep track of time
Look! Daniel’s is almost filled in. - Frannie, knows Daniel’s birthday is approaching and he will receive his gift soon
And mine is not fulled in because it’s not my school birthday. - Frannie
Those are the people who had a birthday - Finlay, recognizing friends' birthday portraits under their space on the calendar - Sept, Oct, Nov, etc.
So then we can keep track of our birthdays. - Finlay
That’s the number. Her’s in 10 days (about Bea’s birthday, on Aug. 10). Saul’s in 5 days and his is in 2 days (Saul's birthday is on Aug. 5 and Ragnar's, who is in the Brown Room, is on Aug. 2). She’s the same as her. 6, 6. (comparing Tucker Room's Sylvie and Marley’s birthdays, which are on January 6 and February 6.) - Daniel, interpreting the meaning behind the birthday dates he reads on the calendar
exploring the question if a school or a building can even have or celebrate a birthday ...
In a large group discussion the children explored their ideas around a possible correlation between age and height/size and personification of the school.
Wilder: And how can a school even eat its food on the birthday?
Bea: School’s have birthdays!
Finlay: Because when you look at the calendar. Look, the school’s symbol!
Cate: I see ginkgo leaves over there! (pointing to the Rainey Room birthday calendar)
Wilder: Because it needs to grow as high as a school before it’s to be a school.
Ines: That's interesting. Is the building gonna keep growing?
*some say yes, some say no
Hugh: No, because it’s just a building, it can’t grow and get taller or it will fall.
Ines: Does a birthday tell you how tall you are? Or what does a birthday tell you?
Hugh: How old you are!
Ines: Buildings can’t grow anymore but can buildings get older?
Lucas: Are we in the school’s tummy?
Bea: Like this is the body of it, we came through the tongue into the belly and then
we’re in the belly.
Lucas: The doors can be the mouth. And then the school can use the teeth to chew the
Daniel: Maybe the dragon is the tongue.
Luke: It sits here every day.
Daniel: Because it can’t stand up. It has no feet.
Bea: Yeah, if it had feet we would be bouncing around.
How old is the school turning? How can we find out?
The calendar of the numbers which are shaped out of clay. - Bea
Many of us are counting the clay number line, that was created by previous Tucker classrooms, when we walk up the stairs to school in the morning . What do these numbers tell us?
This year's Tucker Room has the honor and responsibility to create the number 25 to continue (and possibly conclude?) the number line.
Who’s on the birthday committee? - Finlay
Birthday committees are a fundamental part of any birthday celebration at St. John's. Once we began our conversations about the upcoming school birthday, many children immediately brought up ideas about forming a birthday committee for the school. A common thread in our discussions was to make the school happy. Together we explored the the questions: How can we celebrate? What would make the school happy?
Bea: Well, the school’s birthday... we don’t know what to do for it but….
Cape: Because the school can’t talk.
Daniel: Yes the school can! All of the people. We are the school! (pointing to the other children at morning meeting).
Through multiple conversations with the children in the Rainey Room, in staff and team meetings and sharing and reflecting on other classroom's ideas, questions and thoughts with the children in the Rainey Room, we decided to focus on three areas/birthday committees ...
...taking care of the environment
Bea: That’s what you have to do. Make it all nice in Brown Room, then make it all nice in Rainey Room and then make it all nice in Tucker Room.
How do you make it all nice?
Bea: Like tidy it up. Put new things in it. And we could put like new materials in it.
Wilder: We could decorate the school until the school feels happy.
...making a treat for the celebration
Finlay: A cake!
Sam: Would the school eat it?
Finlay: No, the other people.
Daniel: These people here. (pointing at children)
Bea: The classrooms! Everybody in the classrooms.
...building a mailbox for the school
Finlay: I think I know what would make the school happy. A new mailbox!
We will be sharing more about the amazing committee projects on the blog soon!
beginning our first committee
The first committee to begin their work, is the "Clean Up Crew". The committee, consisting of Hugh, Bea, Luke, Remy and Lily, is focusing on improving our environment at school. This can range from sweeping the studio floor, over sorting and organizing materials, to repairing or fixing a broken shelf.
Taking ownership and responsibility for the environment is highlighting the value we place on our surroundings and the materials we use at school. In the Reggio Emilia approach the environment is often viewed as the third teacher.
“We value space, to create a handsome environment and its potential to inspire social, affective and cognitive learning. The space is an aquarium that mirrors the ideas and values of the people who live in it.” - Loris Malaguzzi
The best part if that we get to use the tools! - Lily
Paper towels? I don't think we need paper towels. - Bea
Maybe we will. You never know! - Lily
The committee first tackled the stairs coming up to school because "Tucker Room walks up and Brown Room walks up and then we walk up. I'm sure it's very dusty!" - Bea
It kind of is actually fun. What's fun for me that's easy. - Lily
I like it because it's very easy to clean the railing. I'm being really careful to not make water drip down there. - Hugh
How will we as a community celebrate
the school's birthday?
Lucas: Are the school’s mom and dad gonna come to its birthday celebration?
Daniel: Yes, like everyone’s.
Sam: Does the school have a mom and dad?
Ines: Daniel just shared an interesting idea with us. Daniel, what was your idea?
Daniel: My idea is, this is the school. Not this whole house, this whole people here.
(pointing around the circle to the other children).
Ines: So we, the people, are the school?
Bea: And the kids and the adults in the school are the mom and dad in the school.
We will send out more information about how we plan to celebrate together with you on March 4th!
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