PART TWO: NEW PROGRAMS
I am excited to have the opportunity to share some of the new programs we have put in place for this upcoming school year.
The Cape Cod Classroom
The Laurel School and Camp is located in one of the most interesting and beautiful areas in the world. Extending beyond our three-acre campus is a wonderland for learning that can support our academic and arts curriculum. In addition to nature’s offerings there are an abundance of museum’s including: The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, Cape Cod Natural Seashore, Cape Cod Children’s Museum, John F. Kennedy Museum, Cape Cod Museum of Art and The Mashpee Wampanoag Museum to name a few. Laurel students can study local history through local poets and artists. The key is to begin to think of Cape Cod as our Classroom. We have embedded the school schedule with opportunities for elementary students (k-5) to explore beyond our campus on a weekly basis. The following is an excerpt from a proposal by a current parent who is collaborating with Laurel on our Cape Cod Classroom curriculum:
Coastal Dynamics, Storms, Sea Level Rise and Climate Change
We seek to develop a curriculum that will enhance the breadth and depth of understanding of how the coast, in general, and Cape Cod, in particular, was and is shaped by natural and anthropogenic phenomena. The open ocean coastal beach is one of the most dynamic environments on the planet. One cubic meter of ocean water, the size of a conventional oven, weighs one metric ton. On average an ocean wave hits a beach on the North Atlantic Ocean every 6 seconds. These two facts illustrate how much energy is at work along our beaches. Fifth graders at the Laurel School could collect a beach profile at a local beach 2-3 times throughout the year. Once in September when the beach is at its widest, again in early March when the beach is typically at its narrowest and again in Late May.
Collecting beach profiles can be done with very little ‘gear’ and can be collected by the students themselves with the guidance of myself and/or a teacher. The data collection can be done in about an hour or two depending on the beach. Students will be responsible for taking field notes, recording data, and entering those data into a spreadsheet and plotting the beach profiles. They will see the beach in the field, then enter in the data and see if it corresponds to what they thought it would look like. These profiles will be monitored throughout the year. Often storms are thought of as destructive forces, but storms have many beneficial aspects. Hurricanes help regulate global heat balance, provide much needed rain to many areas of the world and help cycle nutrients from deep ocean waters to the surface. During the month of September,
peak hurricane season, children could watch the National Hurricane Center’s website and track storms. Make predictions on where they might go, how strong they will get and when and where they may die out. Children are naturally interested in storms. Using this curiosity field trips could be scheduled to ‘washover fans’ these are sand sheets deposited by storms that provide habitat to piping plovers, help low-lying coastal areas keep pace with sea level rise and provide other ecosystem services.
Sea level rise is ongoing and many areas on Cape Cod are vulnerable. At current predicted rates students at the Laurel school could see a 3-5 ft. rise in sea level in their lifetime. Myriad programs and activities could be developed and centered around sea level rise in particular and climate change in general. Cape Cod is the perfect setting for students to learn about all types of coastal phenomena.
Outdoor Experiences Help Girls Develop 21st Century Leadership Skills - Children & Nature Network (C&NN)
The Laurel Website
I would invite you to envision the Laurel Website as Virtual School that connects our community to the best teaching and learning around the globe. The Laurel Website will be one of the most comprehensive teaching mediums that we have as an educational organization. In addition to important information about our school, we will create Class Blogs where teachers and students create their own virtual classrooms. Parents will be able to keep up with what their child is doing on a daily basis. Dr. Jeff’s Blog will connect the Laurel Community to best practices and research in 21st Century education and innovation. Students will conduct video interviews about what they are learning. Students and families will be connected to educational opportunities like the Flat Classroom and Kahn Academy. Students will be able to complete assignments when they have to be away from school. New families looking at Laurel will enjoy not only a thorough understanding of our school but will be introduced to one of the best educational experiences in the field of education and child development.
With the addition of a new Enrichment Director we will be emphasizing the importance of sports including conventional sports such as soccer and basketball as well as life sports such as golf, hiking, and skiing. We will use the Cape Cod Classroom Van to connect with community resources and get the children out of school and onto the Cape. As the year progresses, I would love to introduce the idea of sports as a vehicle for lifelong learning and service.
We have a new Spanish teacher, Ms. Maritza (Mary) Molina, who will be teaching two days a week and running an afternoon enrichment program focusing on Latin American dance and culture.
Our new Art teacher, Anastasia Pacella will be working with preschool and elementary students weekly and collaborating with teachers for the Art & Literature Faire and the DADA Arts Show.
This year’s students in preschool through grade 5 will enjoy many enrichment classes during the school day. All students will participate in Spanish, Science, Art, Life Sports, and Music. Elementary students will also have Computer and Drama.