Dear Walden Families,
It was my pleasure to host our inaugural assembly this past Wednesday and share the picture book The Day You Beginby Newbery Honor winning author Jaqueline Woodson. I was introduced to this book over the summer and it became an instant favorite.
While Walden intentionally creates a warm and welcoming environment for all students, it is important to recognize that every new school year is a change and transition. It is the hallmark of the human experience that this inevitably comes with different perspectives and feelings. My hope is by acknowledging this, we create space for children to feel empowered to tap into their own stories to find the resolve that is needed to take on new challenges. A description of this book that resonated with me comes from Kirkus Reviews: "This reassuring, lyrical book feels like a big hug from a wise aunt as she imparts the wisdom of the world in order to calm trepidatious young children: One of these things is not like the other, and that is actually what makes all the difference." The book will remain a part of the front office collection for children to return to.
Every Wednesday and Friday at 8:30 a.m., the entire Walden community gathers for assembly in the Toby Hayward Community Room.
The purpose of the assemblies is very simple, yet intentional and powerful. Our desire is for classes to collectively gather around one concept for 15 minutes to communicate ideas from one generation to another; it is a time for aspiration and inspiration. There are musical performances, storytelling, skits, serious talks, math presentations, class performances, and the welcoming of alumni and relatives. No detail about people, individuals, or the conduct of the school is considered unimportant. It truly defies description how many different things happen during those 15 minutes.
Another important key to the Walden assemblies is the experience of sitting (or participating) on the Community Room floor over time to build reflection, perspective, and experience. Anyone who speaks, presents, performs is modeling for the entire community. Ultimately, what we're looking for at the assembly is to highlight the best attributes of our community.
As Walden children enter the Community Room as an audience member and participant, we believe a number of important milestones are taking place:
- The assembly experience is contributing to developing personal autonomy as well as seeing themselves as a member of a larger community.
- Students are developing a heightened self-awareness and greater sensitivity to the needs of others.
- Students are learning audience etiquette based on self-discipline and intrapersonal intelligence.
- Students are generating an ethos that is calm, happy and purposeful.
We enjoy and want parents at our assembly. It's a community gathering. Be there, be present, soak up the experience, and help us nurture the often painful yet appreciated line that is raising an independent child and thinker. As a reminder, we are respectfully asking for parents in grades K-6 to gather in the kitchen area or to stand behind seated classes during our morning assemblies.
Assemblies at Walden, for all of their spontaneity, classic performances, missteps, and tearful moments, will continue to draw dozens of parents. We hope to continue to see you there.
Looking forward to seeing you at the Kick-Off Fair this Sunday!
Head of School
"Be true to your work, your word, your friend." ~Henry David Thoreau