I love watching Sesame Street with my 2-year-old for many reasons, but a part I especially enjoy as an educator and a parent is their recent initiative focused on asking questions and experimenting to find the answer. It comes in the form of asking two questions followed by a call to action:
It's role modeled in all sorts of scenarios on the show. For example, two kids want to transfer a plant from the pot to the ground, but they don't have a shovel. One of the girl poses a wonder - I wonder if we use something else instead? The boy proposes a solution - What if we dig with this shell instead? And they both test the new idea out to see if it works!
This is inquiry-based learning: posing a question and using informed guesses and research to generate a hypothesis and test it out. I love this educational style because it's a model of how we operate in our jobs and in our lives!
At CAN, for example, we are always encouraging our team members to start with curiosity: I wonder why this tool isn't working like it should be? What if I asked around to understand the tool better so I can make an effective adjustment to it? Let's try!
I like starting with curiosity because it means leading first with questions instead of entering into a space with our own ideas and opinions before getting a lay of the land. It makes us more effective problem-solvers and it's a great tool in conflict resolution as well! For example, if someone says or does something that rubs us the wrong way and we don't understand why, we can start first with curiosity: I wonder why they made this decision? What if I asked them for more context to understand their reasoning? Let's try!
Starting with asking questions and being curious gives us an opportunity to learn something new, be gracious, and grow. I love how the lessons we teach our children are repeatedly the lessons we all need to learn over and over again - it's one of the joys of education for me. Oh, you need to practice your mindful breathing? I do too! Let's do this together and both of us grow a little bit more each day.
How might you practice wondering, asking questions, and proposing solutions this week?
Many of you are transitioning out soon- we can't believe it is already that time of year! Your relationship-building, commitment, hard-work, and perseverance through this semester - this year - have been seen and felt across the organization. From our VISTAs who have changed the landscape of our stabilization programs, designed entire, amazing curricula about behavior management, mindfulness, environmental sustainability, nutrition, ELA, and so much more, and everything in between to our Interns & Program Assistants who are dedicated to our children, youth, & families - seeing and responding to immediate needs and finding ways we can help in big and small ways - a thank you doesn't seem like enough.
This has been a year, but upon reflection, it really has been an amazing year because of all of you. We had the tools and language to respond with preparedness to challenging situations, we had each other to lean on, and the kids had you to turn to in difficult and joyful seasons.
So, thank you. It's all we can say. Thank you for all you have done and for all that you are, and we wish you the best of luck in your adventures ahead!
Harrison Metzler (GBC Director), April 18
Kimberly Sells (GBC Program Assistant), April 30
Madison Kase (Year-Long VISTA), April 30
May Birthdays are coming up fast! Hurry - catch them before the end of the semester!
Kevin Tran (Year-Long VISTA), May 1
Shelby Banks (Year-Long VISTA), May 6
Daniel Lightfoot (Creekside Court PA), May 9
Iris Yan (Creekside Court Intern), May 11
Maya Neville (Hikone Intern), May 23
Nick Hirsh (Arrowwood Hills Intern), May 24
Claire Schuchard (Bryant Intern), May 25
Upcoming Staff Meetings- For April, May, & June, our meeting schedule as of right now will look as follows:
April 22, Management Meeting, 1-2:30pm
April 29, Off Week: Teams meet as-needed
May 6, Management Meeting, 1-2:30pm
May 13, All Staff Meeting*, 1-3pm - this will likely be the last All Staff Meeting before we take a pause for the summer
May 20, Management Meeting, 1-2:30pm
May 23-24 - Director Workshop - Block off all day
May 27 - Off Week: Teams meet as-needed
In June, we switch to a different meeting schedule due to Educational Summer Camp. This usually means we drop the All Staff Meetings until August or September.
*All staff & interns are welcome to join, but work-study/part-time & interns are not obligated.
All of our staff meetings and CAN holidays are up on the Google Calendar. If you are in our Google Group listservs (firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, & email@example.com) you should receive an invitation to the relevant staff meetings.
If you are not in one of these listservs, please email firstname.lastname@example.org so you can be added!
You can find a link to the CAN Google Calendar at www.can-academy.org/staff-resources (CAN Calendar).
Google Calendars are a helpful tool CAN uses so we can make updates and share them out with all of our stakeholders in case anything changes!
After School Program-
April & May Holiday Parties: Ask your supervisor if there's anything you can do to help! If you aren't normally working from a specific community center, holiday parties a really fun way to join, help, and have a good time.
ASP Wrap Up (subject to change):
Brick: April 28
Creekside: April 19
Hikone: April 28
All other locations: May 19 (as of today)
Educational Summer Camp-
Director Workshop: May 23-24
Summer Program Facilitator Orientation & On-Site Prep: June 13-24
CAN will be closed June 17
Educational Summer Camps Begin: June 27
CAN will be closed July 4
Educational Summer Camp Ends: August 4
Wrap-Up Week: August 8-August 12
Tips & Tidbits
How To Say Goodbye (cont.)
I'd like to keep this same bit of advice from the last postings as I believe it still applies and is worthy advice to reiterate in this season of great transition.
Transitions are hard for anyone, but they can be especially hard for kiddos who experience a lot of transience. It's crucial that when we say goodbye, we do so with the students in mind.
Remind the students when your last day is so they can prepare for that time to come and think about how they want to say goodbye to you.
Saying goodbye can be a great opportunity to share how much the students mean to you. Making cards, sharing treats like candy, are a nice way to show you care.
Please do NOT give gifts outside of edible treats
Please do NOT make promises you will not be able to keep ("I will come back and visit every week!")
Here are some messages that make saying goodbye a more positive experience:
Focus on the achievements the student made this semester
Express positive expectations for their futures and ability to do well
Let the student know they are always loved and valued no matter what
Help the students identify and name their feelings. "I am sad, too. I will miss you when I am gone. But, I am glad we got to know each other. You taught me how to keep trying at a problem even when it was really hard."
"This is the sentence that’s changing everything for me right now: 'I guess I just haven’t learned that yet.' Not 'I must be dumb.' Not 'I’m failing.' Not 'What’s wrong with me?' This is the gift of being a beginner, the gift of laying down your expert/know-it-all/grown-up status, & letting yourself be a learner, a question-asker, a discoverer again.
We started saying it right when we moved here [Manhattan], mostly for the kids, to give them language & assurance that they’re not SUPPOSED to know how everything works in a new place—I told them, let’s practice saying it every single day, whether it’s about school or the subway or navigating new friendships in a new place: 'I guess I just haven’t learned that yet.' And after a few weeks, I realized it wasn’t just about the move, of course, and it wasn’t only for the kids.
It’s about a way of being in the world—a posture of willingness to grow, to be wrong, to be uncertain, to be brave enough to believe new things and leave some things behind, no longer true or useful.
There’s so much freedom & energy & life in this phrase for me. Being a beginner again is renewing so much in my heart, in my eyes, in the way I see myself & this beautiful world.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed by everything I don’t know, I feel delighted, free, energized—almost like when you’ve got a stack of books you haven’t read yet—that amazing feeling that there’s so much waiting for you, and all you have to do is stop pretending you’re too old or too cool or too sure of everything.
In one thousand humbling, beautiful, heart-expanding ways, 'I guess I just haven’t learned that yet.' --Shauna Niequist
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