All families of Great River and to all that care for the young inside these school walls - welcome to 2019!
The gymnasium is finished, and the floor is beautiful. The students enjoying the space, the activity, and the thought of open gym and playing at full heart-rate inside are even more beautiful. We will see the first seasons of Lower Adolescent plays and Adolescent musicals perform in our black box theater upstairs. The first games of basketball, volleyball, and classes in Kali will be experienced in the gym, and the first tasty hot meal is coming out of our kitchen in mid-February. What a sight to behold! And some changes - to names, to approaches, and some reinvestments in our values as a public Montessori learning community.
First, the former early spring “soiree” has changed its name to the “Blue Heron Bash”! Mark your calendars for March 23rd, where the gymnasium will be turned into a festive and fun community building atmosphere that raises funds to support the programs and school that so well serves our children. Parents organizing the event through the Great River Foundation take the lead on the Blue Heron Bash, and are key to the success of our school. Whether you’re a family that has funds to contribute, time to contribute, or struggles with financial resources, please know that all are welcome at the event on March 23rd. Look for opportunities to volunteer and request access tickets in the announcements and emails coming later this month from the Great River Foundation.
I want to thank all the parents who have such dedication, find the time, and volunteer to make these events happen so that teachers and folks like me can focus on supporting kids. This year, Heather Thomas and Kelly Martinson are heading up the Blue Heron Bash. One essential part of the FUNdraising effort is Great Gatherings. Michelle Walseth and Sarah Goldammer are facilitating the signup for Great Gatherings ahead of the Blue Heron Bash - and they (we!) need your support to make the event a success! See signups here:
Here is a list of last years GG if you think it would help others get ideas.
Second, Our kitchen is finally complete, certified, and ready to make the best food our innovative school possibly can. I made a commitment to make sure our food program would reflect our curriculum, our values, and be affordable for families - and we are following through on that commitment. In December we hired new talented staff on our Nutrition team. Leah Korger (they/them) is joining us as our new School Chef, coming from a long list of organizations centered around sustainability and supporting local agriculture. Jenny Breen (she/her), author and co-owner of Good Life Catering, has come aboard as our School Nutritionist. We are delighted to welcome them both to GRS and look forward to the delicious food our kitchen will prepare.
Third, our afternoon elementary physical expressions class (also known as PE… and sometimes confused with “gym” class) is engaged this month with the privilege of studying and experiencing a southeast asian martial art called Kali. The tapping of rattan sticks has been heard across the building today, and is a wonderful example of a skill that trains the mind, the body, and emphasizes interdependence of the pair and group working together.
Next HoS blog post will be on healthy relationships. A deeply influential Montessori quote in my career is: "Peace is the true work of education, all politics can do is keep us out of war...." Never has this been more truly demonstrated - and as adults I’ll reflect on some ways we might look, this winter, to role model what it looks like to emphasize and understand our responsibility to bring healthy behaviors to our own relations with the world.