Musings from Boulden

Friday, April 10, 2020

As mentioned in last week’s blog, the reality is that we cannot replicate what happens in the classroom in an online learning platform, and that can be a source of frustration for some. While we are doing our best and teachers are spending hours creating programming that will keep students engaged, online learning simply is not the same. The hours spent vulnerable, on screen, can be a cause of heightened anxiety for some of our students. Change and uncertainty, in times like these, can be even more of a challenge for others. Self-management can be more difficult, as can initiation. The importance of face-to-face contact, discussion and deliberation has really risen to the surface. That said, children are resilient and they can adapt far more readily than many think. As adults, it’s important to acknowledge how are we modelling adaptation and resilience.

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Friday, April 03, 2020

Schools all over the world are learning what it means to try and offer education at a distance. While some schools have grown up with this model and become experts at it – like Australia's School of the Air, Ontario’s Virtual High School and many of the faculties of education across Ontario who provide additional qualifications options for teachers – for most, it has been a steep learning curve. Parents are also coming to terms with what it was to have a school for their children to go to each day and just how much more than academics those schools provide. Children are realizing how important the social and emotional aspects of their school community are and what it is to be without. In these times, we have lost something, and as anyone who has grieved knows, you never really know what you have lost until it’s gone. And as a school, we are trying our best to mitigate some of these losses and keep to what is familiar.

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Friday, March 27, 2020

I won’t lie. These are tough times. Over the last few weeks, we’ve experienced more change than in any time I can recall. Changes that are necessary for the good of all, but ones we haven’t had a whole lot of control over. We know change is challenging. And there are a lot of unanswered questions, and social isolation is contrary to human nature.

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Friday, March 06, 2020

It’s hard to believe that we have come to the end of term two and that March Break is upon us. Time to let go of routines and to create some new memories for the spring of 2020.

With wellness being at the heart of the Junior School, this pause is needed. The winter term is fraught with hundreds of activities jammed into a short period of time. This pause will afford us time to be present, to reflect and to also look forward to the third and final term. For some, it will be their last days as members of the Junior School community with the excitement of change on the horizon.

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Friday, February 28, 2020

The Junior School honoured Pink Shirt Day this year, one day early. Grade 7 students took on educating our students about Pink Shirt Day at last Friday’s assembly and used their voices to ask that the event be moved up a day because it was anticipated that many students would be attending CISAA finals on Wednesday, the official nationwide date to “Lift Each Other Up.” The theme this year was intended to encourage uniqueness and promote understanding of how uniqueness unites, rather than divides us.

Our uniqueness, much like our voice, is a necessary ingredient to the rich tapestry of our community. Grade 7 students are exercising their leadership skills that have been built since Grade 5 and making our Junior School community, and communities of others, better. A bake sale for the Kids Help Phone and KidSafe raised awareness for those organizations, as well as $291.65. Students rallied and promoted the sale with enthusiasm. Their sales skills are impressive.

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Friday, February 21, 2020

The art of persuasion requires one to convince the reader to share the opinion being stated or to take action for a particular purpose. Word choice is critical, as is tone, when one is trying to persuade another to change their minds or to do something. One must gently encourage rather than forcefully pounce. A logical argument is based on fact. Clear and authentic communication is a must. It should be noted though that no matter how persuasive one is, science tells us that humans are more likely to be persuaded by folks who are credible, likeable, who understand there exists give and take in persuasion, and who share similar values and beliefs.

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Friday, February 14, 2020

As I did last year, I had the honour and extreme pleasure of traveling with the Junior School Tottenham Band and Ms. Crawford to Markham to experience them perform at the annual Ontario Band Association Provincial Band Festival this week.

It is always a pleasure being with students outside of the walls of Boulden House and interacting with them on a different level than simply as their head of school. Seeing them in another element, one they are both comfortable in and also unsure of, and how they handle themselves, is a testament to who they are. And I can report back that they rose to the occasion and were true to themselves.

Other than performing in front of an unknown audience and adjudicators, which can be nerve-racking enough, both students and Ms. Crawford, our fearless conductor, open themselves to professional feedback from one of the adjudicators on the panel who also is assessing them against a set of criteria.

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Thursday, February 06, 2020

“Who would you say is the person you admire most and why?” This is a question we ask prospective students considering the Junior School. You might be surprised, but for the most part, students speak about admiring a family member more so than a celebrity. Not shocking though, given TCS’s values. This week, I attended the funeral of one of the people whom I admire the most, my grandmother.

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Friday, January 31, 2020

This past weekend, nine people died in a helicopter crash. My phone, much like many others I presume, blew up with messages, texts, emails, tweets, people reaching out that I hadn’t heard from in months, sometimes years.

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Friday, January 24, 2020

As many of you know, I also teach yoga and have been running that co-curricular since last year. Thanks to the TCS Parents’ Guild, we have the proper equipment to facilitate this program and student participation is generally good.

One tradition in yoga is to bring in the new, like the new year, or a change, such as with seasons, with a practice of 108 sun salutations. The first time I partook in this practice, on a New Year’s Day, I had no idea what I truly was getting myself into and it took the better part of two weeks to stop the aches and pains... But I did feel empowered because I went through the practice and (the hard way) learned to listen to my body rather than power through the motions to prove to myself that I could do it.

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