Lessons from the Ice

Screen Shot 2018-11-30 at 11.18.03 AMThis winter, my family was fortunate enough to join the New Canaan Winter Club and we had our first moments there Thanksgiving week. My daughter Charlotte, who had only skated a few times, stepped on the ice Tuesday. She took three or four steps—no gliding—and asked me how to actually skate. After a 2-minute lesson about angles and edges, she went off and started skating on her own. She and her sister Julia went down to the ice every day of the holiday weekend, and on Saturday they asked me to come with them. After passing a puck with Julia for a while, Charlotte asked me to play tag with her. Suddenly, she was zooming all over the ice as if she had been skating for years rather than days. Continue reading

Welcome Home Young Alumni

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Last Monday afternoon we held our annual young alumni event, a highlight of the Thanksgiving week.  More than 60 members of the classes of 2016, 2017 and 2018 descended upon campus for an hour and a half of reconnecting, catching up and reminiscing.  They met with some of our beloved faculty, saw the new Dining Hall, and heard from Holly Donaldson Casella ‘04, our alumni director. Their faces lit up each time a new classmate turned the corner from the Carver Commons into the Dining Hall, and inevitably several students rushed to the door to hug and welcome a newcomer. Continue reading

Thankful for One Another

Tim Delehaunty

Next Tuesday, our entire community of students, faculty and staff will gather for our annual Thanksgiving Assembly. Though I have not experienced one before, I understand that various classes and student groups will share some of their work that relates to gratitude and the season. I am sure it will be heartwarming and uplifting in a way that only a totally child-centered performance can be, and a wonderful way to ring in the Thanksgiving break.

I will also address the gathering. I have spent much of my week, like so many others, absorbing the tragic and shocking news of the passing of our beloved former Upper School Head Tim Delehaunty. Continue reading

A Community that Reads Together

This has been a fantastic week of community with the Festival of Books. From the opening book talk on Monday to the last frantic moments of buying just one more book on Thursday, it has been a great week.

DSC_9094Some of my favorite moments included children in pajamas excitedly learning who their mystery reader was, teachers buying gift books for fellow teachers, seeing the wide eyes of our students the first time they saw the library transformed into the festival, and watching parents already loaded down with an armful of books as their children try to stack just one more onto the pile. Such excitement over books, reading, and stories is such a hallmark of Country School. Continue reading

Striking a Balance When Teaching Literacy

DSC09958Last week, I read with interest an opinion piece in the New York Times titled “Why Are We Still Teaching Reading the Wrong Way?” The author makes the case that phonics instruction is the best way to learn to read and that teacher training programs need to do a better job of teaching phonics instruction. On its face, there is a lot of good thought in this article: phonics instruction (learning the sounds of letters and combinations of letters in order to read) is effective and an important component of decoding words, the key step towards literacy. Here at Country School, our teachers do indeed use a phonics approach when teaching reading in kindergarten through second grade. Continue reading