Antiracist essayist, author, and educator Tim Wise recently spoke at Walden School as part of the school’s Parent Guild Parent Education Series. Open to the Pasadena community, the free event quickly sold out with over 100 people in attendance.

wise-speaking-picTogether with Director of Studies Terra Toscano and Diversity Coordinator Billy Christian, Wise also helmed a teacher workshop where he gave Walden faculty some new tools and resources to skillfully navigate an anti-bias curriculum. He will return later this spring to do more work with teachers, as well as visit students in Walden classrooms.

Distinguished Professor of Urban Studies, Queens College & the Graduate Center, CUNY Stephen Steinberg says, “Tim Wise is a spellbinding herald of anti-racism. His voice resonates especially with young people of all races who represent a generational shift away from the racial toxins and taboos that have been a blot on American democracy.”

 

Walden School hosted Neuropsychologist Dana Chidekel, PhD to talk with parents last night about raising children with Emotional Intelligence (EI). As parents recognize that the success and happiness to which they aspire for their children depends on their children’s ability to navigate successfully in the world with others, Dr. Dana focused on how parents influence their children’s brains.

“Parents, you must tolerate your child struggling. Develop resilience in your parenting and you will be okay,” said Dr. Dana. “There is empowerment in saying ‘no’ and your child’s creativity will not be squelched. Tolerate your own struggle and teach appropriate Emotional Intelligence to children as citizens of the world.” Along with an overview of how emotions are processed in the brain, Dr. Dana talked about setting healthy, loving boundaries to create a consistent environment for children AND parents.

Earlier in the afternoon, Dr. Dana gave a professional development lecture to faculty and staff.

Dr. Dana shared her definition of EI as an ability to use emotions as a guide for thinking and behavior. Her book, “Parents In Charge” highlights how parenting casts light on the parent’s childhood memories and experiences, and it explains the differences between the cultures of early childhood and adulthood. Vivid examples of the differences in how children and adults experience time, language, and consequences kept both audiences chuckling in recognition and relief.

For more information about Walden School Parent Education, please visit www.waldenschool.net/parenteducation

Professional Development

October 9, 2014

“We know that in order to teach,
we must be learners first.“

Have you ever wondered how we do what we say we do at Walden School? Director of Studies Terra Toscano says, “We know that in order to teach, we must be learners first.“ Without an ongoing commitment to professional development, the work that we do at Walden could not take place.

Similar to how we teach, Walden teachers engage in personal inquiry and collective inquiry to grow in their practice. Every year, each teacher maps out specific goals to improve professional competence, to keep abreast of the latest research in education, and to nurture their interest in lifelong learning.

Our curriculum partnerships often come with a person or group that facilitates dialogue around the latest body of knowledge within that discipline, and works alongside teachers to bring it to life in their classrooms. In a partnership, our teachers have the opportunity to contribute to the growing body of knowledge while learning. This leads to empowerment and ownership of their teaching.

An example of this: Walden is just wrapping up a 30 month partnership focused on differentiation in mathematics with USC Rossier School of Education, and our USC trainers are now asking Walden teachers to present their findings at a national conference.

This year, our partnership continues with Teachers College Columbia University focusing on Reading Workshop, as well as a study with the Institute for Social and Emotional Learning that began with sending seven faculty catalysts to a conference in Washington D.C. over the summer.

Walden faculty want to increase their understanding of how children learn, how best to teach children, and how to transform the latest research into actual curriculum. Professional development through case studies, in-services, conferences, workshops, partnerships, formal coursework, coaching, mentoring, reflective supervision, consultations, and other facilitated learning, is an important expression of how we do what we say we do.

First Day of School

September 4, 2014

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South Yard playground before school

“Perhaps I should give some account of myself. I would make education a pleasant thing both to the teacher and the scholar. This discipline, which we allow to be the end of life, should not be one thing in the schoolroom, and another in the street. We should seek to be fellow students with the pupil, and should learn of, as well as with him, if we would be most helpful to him.” [Henry David Thoreau to Orestes Brownson, 30 December 1837]

 

School teachers were happy to be back together this fall after a busy summer of professional development conferences, in-services, and workshops. On the First Day of School, returning and new K-6th grade students eagerly gathered early on the Walden playgrounds to greet their teachers on this cool September morning. The Pre-Kindergarten students will begin their school year a few days later on Monday.

 

Walden faculty traveled to summer conferences focused on social-emotional learning, writing and reading workshops, Responsive Classroom, math skills, mindfulness, and many other topics. Walden School believes that teaching students to be academically capable, insightful, and passionate learners requires teachers to pursue their own interests with passion and determination. As teachers model mastery of traditional academic skills, they can better guide students to apply newly acquired skills to a variety of situations in creative and discerning ways. As students discover the interrelatedness of what they are learning, along with their teachers, they are inspired to find deeper answers to their questions.

 

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North Yard as students line up for first day of classes

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Headed into the classrooms

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Parents look on as North Yard teachers begin leading students into classrooms

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K/1 Assistant Teacher Matt Little high-fives one of his students

K/1 Lead Teacher Joe Braxton shares a laugh with Walden parent Dwana Willis

K/1 Lead Teacher Joe Braxton shares a laugh with Walden parent Dwana Willis

 

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First Morning Circle

 

 

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