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Nurturing SEEDS - 2021 Summer Innovation Grant


This summer, 19 members of the faculty and administration met across two days to participate in team-building activities and collaborative brainstorming to find a cohesive way to connect existing Mindful Moment videos, Chapel themes, books of the month, Advisory sessions, and Morning Meeting slides. The summer team built a comprehensive program that the entire school can follow to build and reinforce the U-CREATE skills in social, emotional, academic, and spiritual areas. Using the school’s existing U-CREATE structure, each month was assigned a theme—Understanding of Self, Collaboration, Resilience, Engagement, Agency, Trust, and Empathy—and a coordinating Book of the Month. These themes and books provide a common structure for our Nursery to Grade 8 students. Each grade then has a collection of age-appropriate extensions to explore these themes further under the umbrellas of social-emotional learning; equity, diversity and inclusion topics; and spirituality. 

In September, students in Nursery to Grade 8 read the book Thao by Thao Lam as they explored the U-CREATE theme of Understanding of Self. With the book as a catalyst, students explored their identities through their names and family backgrounds. Nursery School and Lower School students may have explored their likes, interests, and common emotions and reactions by having discussions in Morning Meetings. In Middle School, students used Advisory time to explore how they can empower and disempower themselves through their understanding of self. In Chapel, students further explored the relationships between our culture and identity.  Next month, students will read What’s My Super Power by Aviaq Johnston with the theme of the month, which is Engagement. 

In each of these venues, we have begun to develop more cohesive and common language across grade levels in addressing the curiosities, needs, and growth of our students. The collaborative work has been exhilarating, and teachers have been able to draw inspiration from colleagues in very different grade levels—a reminder that education is best when it includes regular spiraling of skills, topics, and mission-driven values as students progress through our program. We look forward to providing continued updates on this exciting work.

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