A few weeks ago, our Lifetouch photographer asked me to take him on a tour of Lower School so that he could take some candid pictures for the yearbook.  My first (silent) reaction was, “I really don’t have time for this.”  I live by my calendar, and this event was not on it.  My second (also silent) thought was, “Where do we start?”  After all, this was just an ordinary Wednesday in Lower School; there was nothing special going on today.

We began our excursion in the 5th Grade Building.  As we walked into the center, I was struck by the unusual sound I heard – silence.  We saw students comfortably ensconced on the center couches or in the corners of their classroom engrossed in their independent reading books.  They did not even look up as the photographer began snapping away – these kids were definitely in the “reading zone.”  Next door in math class, it was center day. Students were happily engaged in collaborative games and problem solving activities designed to strengthen and enhance the skills they had been working on in class.  Lots of smiles and positive energy here! The collaborative process continued as we peeked into writing class and observed students listening to their partners read the final drafts of their personal narratives during peer editing.  We then proceeded to eavesdrop on lively discussions in science and social studies – all this in the first 10 minutes.

Thoughts of my “to do” list disappeared as we continued on our tour for the next hour and a half.  Here are some of the other images the photographer was able to capture on a “typical” day in Ravenscroft’s Lower School:

  • A group of pre-Kindergarten children gathered outside at small picnic tables describing images of fall during Writer’s Workshop
  • Another small circle of pre-Kindergarteners inside the Raven Haven confidently using a new form of communication – sign language – to share a song they had just learned
  • A fiercely competitive group of fourth-grade girls engaged in a lively game of  “Defend the Castle” in the Lower School Gym (lots of good action shots here, although the photographer needed to duck a few times to avoid being stung by the ball)
  • First graders’ eyes intently focused on art instructor Sally Fortlouis, as she magically modeled how to draw scary Halloween figures
  • One group of Kindergarten children stirring freshly made apple sauce in the kitchen area, while others engaged in serious play – selling fruits and vegetables at their “store,” building with blocks, and snuggled together in the beautiful new reading center sharing a favorite story
  • Tiny violinists mirroring the actions of Ms. Hitchcock as she led them through a scales exercise
  • First-grade children in the Science Lab exploring the power of air with hand-made pinwheels and little paper helicopters
  • An exuberant second grade class filling their bins with “just right books” in the Winston Lower School Library during book shopping
  • Third graders sitting “EEKK” (Elbow to Elbow/Knee to Knee) as they shared a  book with a classmate during partner reading
  • A computer lab buzzing with excitement as children experimented with the new Wixie program – a tool that empowers students to communicate and collaborate creatively
  • And finally, we finished our Lower School loop in Senorita Hernandez’ classroom, where Kindergarteners were joyfully dancing and singing in Spanish.

The photographer’s comment?  “This is one special school.”  And I had to agree.  I have been a member of the Ravenscroft community for 16 years – as a parent, a teacher, and an administrator – but I needed this little wakeup call to  remind me of how truly lucky I am to be surrounded by greatness every day.  I am surrounded by talented and dedicated teachers, amazing students, and caring and supportive parents.  I needed a fresh perspective.  During this time of year when we are reminded to count our blessings, I think it may be wise to take a “tour” of our own everyday lives and reflect on what we may be taking for granted on a seemingly ordinary day.  You may end up as surprised as I was!

Best wishes to you and your family for a restful and happy Thanksgiving!

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