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By happenstance, I witnessed something remarkable last week as our admin team met under the pine trees. Three third graders approached the Pre-K classroom carrying a small wooden table. As they stood somewhat uncomfortably outside Pre-K deliberating about something, I popped over to ask what was up.

sacred stumpsThe Sacred Stumpsacross the streamMixed-age soccer games, second and third graders reading to preschool buddies, fifth graders in charge of bi-monthly pizza sales―what's a school who prizes community going to do in the time of COVID? Improvise, guide, write, and share across class cohorts or from one tent to another!

  1. Being with the kiddos
  2. Learning in the great outdoors
  3. Cultivating community
  4. Launching a new curriculum: 3-2-1 Blast off PBL
  5. Trying on my new teacher's cape

Starting on-campus school in a COVID-19 environment has been an opportunity to put in place new ways of doing things that have included changes to our campus learning places, curriculum modifications, and health protocols. Because the teachers refer to them, here are some:

Students meeting on ZoomAs a school, we see one of our biggest strengths as that of making and building relationships—math clubs, garden weeders, bird watchers, book groups, basketball shooters, worm and caterpillar rescuers all joined together daily in our interests and pursuits. How does a school that relishes connections teach from afar?

Not a parent or teacher is immune to the instant request to be judge and jury when children find themselves in the midst of an unresolved conflict. You can feel it coming as they race towards you with set jaws, furrowed brows, and outraged voices exclaiming how woefully each feels they’ve been wronged.

Beth WinnWhy do you think that? What do you think would happen if…? I noticed you did it this way, what made you think that was a good way to start? What made you try it differently the next time? Your classmate used a different strategy; do you think her answer will be different?

Eric Anderson

At around 10:15 on my very first Monday here at Free Union, a posse of eight first-graders appeared excitedly if perhaps slightly insistently at my office door. “Hi, Eric.” they said, “Read this.” They presented me with a piece of cardstock that had been folded in half, and decorated on the front with eight illustrations of foods they each enjoyed. When I opened the card, I found the following inside:

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