Traditions–How Do You Know Which Ones to Sunset?
The month of December is filled with lots of different holiday traditions. These traditions often provide us with a sense of comfort and joy because of the memories they allow us to hold onto, and because of the familiarity they bring to our daily lives. In Lower School, some of our favorite December traditions are the first grade train, gingerbread house making in Kindergarten and fourth grade, the holiday sing along, and the Guardian Angel gift giving project.
Traditions are not reserved for the holidays and are quite common in schools throughout the year. From grade-level performances to the class novels and projects we complete each year, educators have certain traditions they feel are necessary for their students’ school experiences. Because of the sense of comfort and joy these traditions provide, we sometimes have a difficult time changing and adjusting the way we do things.
So how do you know when it is time to change a tradition and try something new?
As much as I love traditions and see the value in many of them, a few things I have read recently including the NAIS 2011-2012 Trendbook, Seth Godin’s daily blogs, and parents’ emails expressing concerns have caused me to question if we are challenging ourselves often enough and truly evaluating all that we ask of our students and teachers. I wonder if some of what we ask teachers and students to do at Ravenscroft is simply because it’s what we have always done?
As we continue to find ways to improve the overall school experience for our students and better prepare them for their future in a constantly evolving world, I am reminded of the need to explore new and innovative ways to do things.
Key questions we should ask as we evaluate some of our traditions:
- What is the purpose of the experience and how did the tradition begin?
- What valuable skills are learned through the experience and are they relevant for a new generation of learners?
- Is there a way to improve or change the experience that would be more beneficial for 21st century learners?
- What is lost or gained through sunsetting the tradition?
What Lower School traditions do you think we need to consider sunsetting?
What Lower School traditions are near and dear to your heart and need to be held onto?