February 2011 Archives

Diversity Matters...

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There was a lively and interactive discussion last night at West Chester Friends School regarding diversity: how do we as a community handle our differences as we celebrate one another? Many areas of strength - as well as many areas of challenge - were shared after we began with exploration of our own positive and negative experiences with diversity over the course of our lives.

I am reminded of the mission of Friends schools - to educate the whole child as each person grows into goodness - and and glad we are "checking in" to see that all feel welcomed and supported. Quakers set the bar quite high on issues of integrity and equality - two of our core testimonies - and we need to continually monitor how we are doing as new families join our community.

For me, every time I come to the school and walk through the halls, diversity jumps out at me: art, writing, music, creative play, and meaningful reflection are woven into the very fabric of our school, with room and encouragement for individual expression and "thinking outside of the box." May this be the case for all of us in all parts of our lives!

It is, as always, my privilege to work here. Blessings to all...


In peace,


Teacher John

www. ThinkLaughLearn.com

The Morris Junior Sailing Program and School Success:
Why having your child learn to sail can help in the classroom, too
Learning to sail is a complex activity. Sailing uses all part of the brain, engages visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic learning styles. Sailing also develops resilience, cooperation skills, and a sense of environmental awareness. Here's why you should enroll your child in The Morris Junior Sailing Program:
• Current brain research suggests that activities that engage both sides of the brain - the language-oriented left hemisphere and the spatially-oriented right hemisphere - lead to better overall brain health. Sailing involves the language and sequencing of maneuvers (like tacking and jibing) as well as the spatial awareness of you, your sails, your boat, and the surrounding waters. You are constantly switching sides, using each hand on the tiller, and re-orienting yourself in space-time. You are also making lots of decisions, a process which engages the pre-frontal lobes (the last part of the brain to fully develop).
• Visual learners are always monitoring the scenery, tracking the boat and its movement through the water. Auditory learners are engaging crew members with commands, listening for the wind and the luffing of the sails, and maintaining vigilance for auditory aids to navigation. Tactile/kinesthetic learners feel the wind on their face, move their bodies across the cockpit
when the move the tiller, and experience the physical thrill of gliding through the water on a wind machine.
• Resilience is a vital skill for life-success: the ability to bounce back from adversity with positive outcomes and optimism. Sailing provides multiple chances to bounce back - from a poor tack, from a dropped winch handle, or from a wrong way maneuver on the tiller - and provides an immediate opportunity to "get back on course."
• Cooperative learning is an increasingly valuable learning skill in our inter-connected world. With two students in each boat, there is an on-board classroom for teaching how to communicate, how to get along, and how to work together to achieve a goal.
• A love of the natural world is a gift you can give to your child through sailing. In an era where children are spending more time indoors using computer/screen devices, sailing is the perfect opportunity to get outside, be active, and enjoy this beautiful planet.
So - what are you waiting for?
Morris Yacht and Beach Club member John Scardina is a school psychologist, parent educator, and child development specialist who lives on City Island. He is a certified sailing instructor (American Sailing Association) and the owner of his beloved 30' sloop Sunbow. Check out his website www.ThinkLaughLearn.com.
© John Scardina 2011

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