Last month, when Terra Toscano accepted the offer from the Walden School Board of Trustees to become the permanent Head of School, she was thrust into the spotlight. While Terra has never been one who sought to be the center of attention, she is now poised to lead Walden into a new era. After almost two decades at the school and countless contributions to curriculum, culture, and community, few if any are more qualified for the job. She maintains strong beliefs about educating children and also a fierce progressive attitude, always looking to move forward and embrace change. All of this is done with intention, a spirit of collaboration, and mutual respect. And a lot of hard work.
The Walden Story Blog
At Walden, we like to
sing a song that we call
"The Story Song."
It starts with these words:
Everybody has a story.
Everybody has a tale.
But if we put our stories together,
Then we can never fail.
Story is an integral part of the Walden School culture. It’s why students spend every day journaling, and it’s why we have a Resident Storyteller. We believe storytelling is more than just entertainment. It’s about valuing each person’s unique perspective and point of view. In The Walden Story Blog, we honor the stories of individuals both at Walden and from our local community. So, get comfy, pull up a chair, and let us tell you a tale or two.
A few years ago, while I was working as the assistant in a Kindergarten/ 1st grade classroom, I witnessed one of the most beautiful displays of generosity I have ever seen. Several of the incoming kindergarteners were new to Walden, but a few had been here since Pre-K. These "experienced" kindergarteners were familiar with the space and had relationships from the previous year. As such, they were more comfortable and confident than the new students.
For better or worse, the tense campaign season ends today! Opinions, accusations, and sound bytes have been flying from every direction for the last several months, and while many of us are glad to be done with it, it's hard not to feel concerned moving forward. Though famous for our collaborative spirit and democratic process, America seems to have forgotten some essential truths about teamwork and cooperation. Obstruction, name calling, and refusing to compromise have sadly become normal. There are many reasons for this, but perhaps the biggest is that cooperation is hard work!
37 years ago, while Anna Badel was visiting her sister's family during a break from school, she observed something that would alter the course of her professional life.
Anna, who was studying Child Development at Cal Poly at the time, recalls, "My 3-year old nephew Alex went into the breakfast room and pulled out some dishes, a plate and some silverware. The manner in which he opened that cupboard, took out what he needed, and closed that cupboard so respectfully and gently had an impact on me. It was that and the fact that at three he was self-sufficient and respectful of his environment. I asked my sister about Alex and she said, 'That's Montessori.'"
Several years ago, while working at a school on the west side, I noticed a disturbing phenomenon: kids who were self proclaimed "bad artists." At this school, kids who finished their homework were encouraged to draw, use art materials, and be creative. But a disturbing number of them told me they "couldn't do art."