Child-led inquiry is one of the most important aspects of Walden's culture. This can be seen all over campus in any classroom but is perhaps most evident in the long-term research projects undertaken at all grade levels. In the Lower Core, students choose research topics for their All About Books. In the Middle Core, students go on a Learning Adventures. Fourth and fifth graders embark on a Learning Quest. Projects at all grade levels are age appropriate and meaningful and allow students to improve their research, collaboration, and presentation skills. Years of study and exploration lead Walden students to the juggernaut that awaits them in sixth grade, the mother of all investigative writing endeavors: the Inquiry Project.
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.
"At Walden, we nurture a child's natural wonder and personal dignity." This is the first line of our mission statement and a principle that guides our practices. We believe this is especially important as we live in a society that likes to tear people down. One obstacle to personal dignity is gender scripting. As children make observations and take in information, they learn to police gender boundaries that are harmful for everyone. This blog will focus specifically on how it effects boys and what we can do about it.
Arlene slept on a portable lawn lounge in her mother's living room. She shopped, cooked and waited on her mother and nephew, who had drug issues but nonetheless had the privilege of sleeping in the second bedroom. She dreaded any contact with her abusive husband. When the strain got too much, she fled to The Women's Room, a local shelter, where she received the encouragement she needed to rebuild her confidence and her life.
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.
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.