On Wednesday, April 17th, we held our 30th Anniversary Celebration at the Dairy Center for the Arts in Boulder. The event included performances by alumni musicians Foxman James, senior faculty member at the Boston School of Music Arts, and Henry Dickhoff, professional pianist currently touring with the Glenn Miller Orchestra. As well as performances by Travis and Christine LaBerge, owners of Parlando School of Musical Arts and the BCD Spotlight Singers. It was an elegant evening with 30 years of teachers, parents, grandparents, trustees and alumni joining together to reminisce about the grassroots years, envision a bright future, and celebrate the community that is BCD. Thank you again to all those whose shoulders we stand on.
“I wish I had been here from the beginning”, said my older son half-way through 7th grade at BCD a couple of years ago. When I asked him why, he gave me several reasons: The teachers, the students, the community, the opportunities to explore new interest areas, the leadership opportunities, the service projects, the trips, and last but not least “I am finally getting how to balance academics and the rest of my interests- and I don’t have to choose one or the other- I can just be me”. I liked his answers and with our second son saying to me just the other day that he too wishes he had been at BCD “for more time than I will have here in middle school”, I decided to see how much their comments may be more than a personal story. As a trained education researcher, looking further, deeper and more closely is what I am passionate about; -and when personal experience matches with solid data, I am calling that a “Great Day!”
The BCD travel program creates trips tied to curriculum that enhance our IB education and allow BCD students to discover and embrace their excellence and expand their horizons through unique experiences. This April we have two great trips running.
Next week is Arts Week at BCD. Our students will be exposed to dance, drama, or ceramics depending on what grade they are in. Each year, BCD hosts artists-in-residence during Arts Week. Students work closely with these artists and have the opportunity to delve deeper into a particular medium.
A recent study covered in this Mindshift article found that "adding time for dance, theater, or visual arts isn’t at odds with traditional measures of academic success". Some statistics even show it improves scores on writing tests. In fact, many would maintain that students' lives are enhanced by exposure to the arts at school and to experiences they would not normally have exposure to. Arts Week is a week that we look forward to and that we strongly believe improves the quality of the education we provide.
Below is a full schedule of the week's events:
Working with PS-2: Ryne Haldeman, Dance (Ovation Studio for the Performing Arts)
Boulder Country Day has intentionally chosen to focus on preschool through eighth grade and we believe it is among our greatest assets. We firmly believe that a PS-8 school environment offers distinct advantages during the most critical years of a child’s intellectual, social, and emotional development.
On February 27th from 6:00pm - 7:30pm, BCD's Coordinator of Equity & Inclusion, Randi Reinhold will lead a thoughtful conversation on Identity, Difference and Allyship and how we can raise our awareness and challenge stereotypes through reflection and conversation.
Research shows that throughout early childhood, children become aware of cultural identities such as gender, race, ethnicity and ability.
More and more it seems that schools and school leaders are reluctant to include holiday celebrations and events in classrooms. There is a growing trend in our public schools and institutions to keep all references to faith out of curriculum and instruction, and even some of our independent schools are concerned that celebrating one holiday tradition will marginalize another.
Thanksgiving reminds me to take stock of the things in my life for which I am most grateful. Of course I am thankful for my family and friends and that I am in good health; I am also thankful that my dishwasher works, that I have hot water whenever I need it, that my husband makes me a cup of coffee each morning as I’m getting ready for work, and that I landed in Boulder with a job that I LOVE to come to each and every day.
Boulder Country Day School’s 4th & 5th grade Continental Math League team won first place in their division at the Continental Math Tournament held at Aspen Ridge Prep School in Erie on Monday, November 5th. Several BCD students placed within their grades including Alexander O’Hearne 1st Place in 3rd Grade and Amitai Sebba 1st Place in 4th Grade. Several BCD students qualified to move on to a state competition.
Free and Open to the Public. All Boulder County middle school students and their families are invited to come meet with local public and private high schools as well as the over 60 boarding schools that will be in attendance. The event will run from 6:30pm – 8:00pm in the Boulder Country Day School gymnasium and is structured open house style.
Of all the skills we encourage our children to develop, social intelligence may be the most essential for predicting a fulfilling, successful life. Social intelligence is the ability to effectively negotiate interpersonal interactions and complex social environments. It involves effective communication skills, the ability to read non-verbal cues into how other people are feeling and virtues such as empathy and consideration.
Children learn appropriate behaviors by emulating adults. The easiest way to help your child learn qualities such as patience, forgiveness, compassion, generosity, and gentleness is to model these qualities in your day-to-day interactions with other people and with your children.
Preschoolers are social creatures, generally very interested in other and quick to notice and adopt social norms. They're becoming more able to control themselves, and more able to verbalize their feelings, opening up a host of options beyond for communicating and problem solving. The preschool years are a perfect opportunity to teach social habits and skills that will help them throughout their lifetime. If you would like to read a fascinating article that was recently in the New York Times about how work places are really just like preschool, click here.
It is completely natural for preschoolers to experience conflicts. Children this age usually want to have things go their way and yet have other children to play with. The ability to negotiate and compromise is honed through the conflicts that arise between toddlers. Be close by but do not intervene in a conflict until you feel that you absolutely need to. Even when you do intervene, make sure that instead of simply telling everyone what they should do, you help them empathize with each other and understand why they should behave in a particular way.
Some ways you can support the development of social intelligence in your child include:
Support their friendships. Honor and reinforce your child's developing friendships. Talk about them, remember them, create opportunities to play. Remember that children get aggravated with each other, just as adults do. It doesn't mean the end of a friendship, necessarily, just that they need help to work through the issues that come up.
Model respectful relating. Remember that your child will treat others as you treat her. Show your child respect, be tactful in the ways you talk to your child about how they are treating others, and help them work out difficulties when they play together.
Teach your child that people are important. Teach your child consideration for others. Model it for him early on, praise it, help him brainstorm to solve peer problems, and don't let your child intentionally or unintentionally disrespect another person.
Teach kids to express their needs and wants without attacking the other person. For instance:
"I don't like it when you push in front of me like that" instead of "You're mean!"
"I need a turn, too!" instead of "You're not letting me have the ball."
Help your child learn how to repair rifts in relationships. When we think about repairing relationships, we usually focus on apologizing. Giving children a chance to cool down first always works better and then ask them 'How can you fix it?'. Be sure to model apologies to your children and scaffold this process for them.
Remember, that teaching and modeling social skills is a process that takes time and patience. Stick to it - we promise you will see the results.
At BCD we make a positive school environment a big priority. From excellence in faculty to enthusiasm from parents to attention to physical setting and more, our efforts to develop Bulldog spirit are intentional and strong. But why does it matter?
BCD MS STEM and Programming teacher, Phil Mayhoffer, has been selected to participate in the first cohort of the US LEGO Education Master Educator program. The program which is designed for educators in early learning through secondary school who currently use LEGO hands-on learning solutions in their classroom. The selected participants embody the LEGO Education mission of enabling success for all students through hands-on learning experiences.
The 110 LEGO Education Master Educators will enjoy many activities including access to like-minded educators, insider news of special LEGO Education offers and events and recognition. They will also be invited to provide feedback to LEGO hands-on learning solutions and programs.
“Shining a spotlight on the good work of educators and sharing best practices from classrooms across the country are top priorities for LEGO Education,” said Silver McDonald, head of LEGO Education North America. “It’s why we’re launching the LEGO Education Master Educator program and eagerly awaiting to welcome and start learning from the first cohort of Master Educators.”
Mr. Mayhoffer instructs several after school Lego courses, as well as, coaches a combined Fist Lego League team made up of students from Boulder Country Day School and the I Have a Dream Foundation of Boulder County (IHAD) (link to news story on First Lego League team). "I am super excited about this opportunity," says Mayhoffer. "I expect that my participation in the program will enrich the classes I teach at BCD and our FIRST LEGO League teams."
A Rising Tide Lifts All Ships: Building Resiliency
We are not born with an inherent understanding of how to manage stress. This is something we learn from watching those around us manage their own stress and through this observation, develop our own tendencies. These tendencies are patterned responses to stress and anxiety and are far more changeable than we often realize. Stress management and distress tolerance are challenging for many of us, not just for young people. In this presentation, we will discuss how stress affects our brains and bodies and how to begin speaking more openly about these challenges in a way that will create space for young people to feel safe joining in that conversation. We will also talk about effective strategies to downshift our nervous systems and to manage stress and anxiety through engagement, rather than distraction, as well as the difference between settling down and settling in.
Through an anonymous Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity grant by a BCD parent, Boulder Country Day School and I Have a Dream Foundation of Boulder County(IHAD) have partnered to form a combined First Lego League® (FLL) team. The grant funds transportation and course expenses for participating IHAD students and brings together students, technology, and BCD’s goal of inspiring students to reach their full potential.
Children are acquiring literacy from birth; from dinner table conversations promoting oral language development, to bedtime storytelling demonstrating that meaning can be made from text, to creating shopping lists which help children learn sounds and alphabetic symbols.
This Friday we open the doors of our school to our grandfriends and I hope it serves as a reminder to us all to open our hearts and minds to them as well. It is said that a wise man allows others to speak into their life.
The importance of enrolling young children in a high quality preschool is a no-brainer for many parents. However, choosing the perfect program often feels like a pivotal decision that will impact a family and child for years to come.
Last Friday’s Commencement ceremony was indeed the usual bittersweet occasion we see each year. Whether it was the students who have been together for 11 years or those who have forged lasting friendship over the course of middle school, the tears and smiles they shared represented the unity of the experience that is BCD.
In the words of graduation speaker, Tommy Miller, “When those of us who have been here since pre-school started at BCD, we were literally toddlers. A few of the truly advanced students could tie their own shoes, but the rest of us were pretty much incapable of anything. To us, the middle schoolers were like adults. It’s amazing to think how much that perspective has changed and how much we have grown here. As each of us heads off to high school next year, we’re all very much still works-in-progress, but it is impressive to think how much BCD has helped to prepare us academically, bond us as friends, and shape our character in preparation for that next step.”
The “next step” for the class of 2016 is journeys in various different directions, but the BCD experience they carry into those futures will make them all Bulldogs for life.
As part of BCD’s Middle School curriculum, 8th grade students complete a Capstone Project. Capstone Projects are a yearlong experience that encourages students to dive deeply into a subject of personal passion. This experience develops in-depth learning in the presence of an experienced mentor. 8th grade Capstone projects are a culmination of students' BCD experience bringing together the key elements of passion, innovation, and service. It is always exciting to see the range of interests and directions the students take. Student projects this year range from building ovens in Nicaragua, to designing head bands for a cure, to piloting a plane, to stage fighting. On April 22nd, our 8th grade students finished the hard work they have put into their Capstone projects as they presented their work to their families and mentors. Well done, Bulldogs.
To see a complete list of this year's projects, click here.