Do you know this book? Schools’ First Day of School by Adam Rex? The story is told from the perspective of a brand new school building, not quite sure what to expect as opening day of school approaches. As we wait to welcome students back to our school tomorrow, I have been thinking a lot about this book. Our school, like most others, has been without kids since March. So much has changed since that whirlwind Wednesday when our school was suddenly shut down. Staff has been back at school for over a week and as we prepare and dream up what school will look like going forward this year, there is certainly an energy missing without the kids.
About ten years again, I went through an intense training to become a Responsive Classroom Consulting Teacher. I was lucky to have strong Responsive Classroom mentors from day one of my teaching career. An idea that has always stood out to me from my Responsive Classroom training and all the reading I have done, is the goal of creating the kind of community where kids feel like it matters that they came to school, it matters that they were there. Now more than ever, we get to create a safe place for kids-to give them back predictable routines, connections with adults and peers, and a place to meet their basic needs to feel a sense of belonging, significance, and fun. We have always known that strong relationships are key in all of this. Last weekend, I read a transcript of a podcast with Colleen Cruz and Nell Duke. Nell Duke said, “In the research on resilience , one of the things that you find that really fosters resilience in students, is the relationships that they have, in and outside of the classroom. So, we can endure hardship better when we have a supportive, consistence presence in our lives, of someone to be with us through those difficult times” She went on to say, “I think that rather than thinking of resilience as something that we hope people have, we can think of resilience as something that we have the power to build in children and youth, through the relationships we have with them.”
We have the power to build resilience in children…within each other.
I have so many emotions about the 20-21 school year, ranging from fear and worry to excitement and hope. I feel a little like the school in School’s First Day of School, not quite sure what to expect-but full of anticipation.
As we launch this new and unusual school year, I hope you all know that it matters that you show up, whether in your physical school building or the virtual classrooms you will create. I look forward to sharing our stories, learning together, and leaning on each other. Wishing you all a safe and fun school year.