The toe bone connected to the heel bone,
The heel bone connected to the foot bone,
The foot bone connected to the leg bone,
The leg bone connected to the knee bone.
And so it goes.
Every time I hear that song, I cannot help but visualize how each part connects to the next. What about you? Connections might make us think of legos and puzzle pieces and even circuits. There’s Velcro. And magnets. And bridges. Can you picture those paper chains that were so popular decades ago? Have you participated in The Wave at a sporting event? The left field connected to the right field… (I wonder how many of you just sang that in your head. I did.)
If you are taking time to read this, you are somehow connected to Episcopal. Perhaps you are one of our current families, or a graduate, or a teacher. Maybe you are a prospective family in search of the best academic option for your children. You could be a student at Episcopal right now. Think about it. Every person reading this is connected as our eyes focus on this piece. Right now. And so we have a shared experience and common ground. And so we are connected.
Such it is with us at Episcopal Lower School. We know that children learn better when we present materials and inspire them to make a connection. We ask questions like: What does it make you think about? How does it make you feel? Has that ever happened to you? Can you relate? We know that making connections brings meaning to learning and results in deeper understanding; the effects are lasting. It is appropriate that this year’s theme in Lower School, therefore, is Making Connections.
But we are thinking beyond just the classroom. In what other ways will we connect? Our daily Morning Meeting finds Big Buddies and Little Buddies sitting together and sharing this special time with one another. Several times throughout the year, we are intentional about connecting with our friends in the other two divisions for exciting academic experiences beyond the scope of a traditional classroom. Our varsity coaches teach our children physical education, instilling in them the importance of fitness and fun and fundamentals and connecting them with the path ahead.
At Episcopal, we connect with the Department Chairs on issues related to curriculum, best practice, and ideas that are pedagogically sound. Planning sessions connect teachers from all departments so that there is breadth and depth to student learning. Connecting art, music, drama, library, world language, and physical education to units of study helps us to be more in tuned to individual students’ strengths and learning preferences resulting in greater academic success.
We value our connection with parents at Episcopal and treasure their role. Library Workers and Tray Helpers provide much needed assistance throughout the year. We connect with parents at Orientation, Parents’ Night, and during special projects, parties, and performances in our division. Parents give unselfishly, planning meals for Teacher Terrific Tuesdays and Teacher Appreciation Week. Parents are connecting with each other at school and at planned social activities for different grade levels. We are all connected; our community is strong.
This year we wish to be more deliberate about looking outside of our school community and connecting in bigger, more impactful ways. Already, we partner with Melrose Elementary in Baton Rouge by sponsoring a School Supply Drive each August. We have also planned Easter Egg hunts and Spruce Up days there. Our fifth grade religion classes are structured for Service Learning, and students research organizations and agencies in Baton Rouge to discover more about the needs in our community. Together they select a project and work collaboratively to support that cause. What more can we teach our children about our city, state, and world? How can we inspire them to make a connection, and thus make a difference?
Establishing and nurturing connections cements the bond that we have with one another in Lower School inside and outside of classrooms: in the Greer Center, in the Lewis Memorial Chapel of the Good Shepherd, with our Senior Buddies, and in the theatre. Making connections not only enhances our learning, but it inspires empathy and involvement. We will continue to be mindful this year in all of the ways that we are connected, and we will be open to opportunities that will help us to connect more deeply with each other and our world.
How might you connect?
Lower School Division Head