But this is a misconception. A year or two or three is an eternity in the life of a child. Each day is a new experience to be celebrated and integrated into a student’s sense of self and the world around her or him.
That is why it is so important for us, as adults, to do whatever we can to provide opportunities for our students to feel that they are an integral part of something larger.
Research indicates that family involvement in schools increases student achievement. The benefits of parent and family involvement include higher test scores and grades, better attendance, more completion of homework, more positive attitudes and behavior, higher graduation rates, and greater enrollment in higher education. The payoffs for learning are obvious not only for younger children but for all our students. Although parent involvement typically is strongest at the primary level, continued involvement through the middle grades and at the secondary school level is important in encouraging and guiding our children’s development and achievement. At KGMS, we regard our relationship with our families as a partnership in which school and home share responsibility for each child’s learning. When this partnership is extended to include the larger community, the benefits are greater yet.
Perhaps most important is that when responsibility for children's learning is shared by the school, home, and community, children have more opportunities for meaningful and engaging learning experiences.It is our ongoing goal to provide a variety of experiences both inside and out of the classroom to continue to help our students to make those connections to the larger world.
As far as building our own community goes, we had a great start on that a couple of weeks ago with our first annual Welcome Back Barbeque. Deftly organized and put into place by a great team of volunteer parents, it was a wonderful opening to the year as over 250 children, parents and staff spent a sunny Saturday afternoon getting to know one another outside of the formal confines of school.
This was followed in short order this past week by Outdoor School at the North Vancouver Outdoor School just outside of Squamish. For three days, virtually the entire school played and learned and lived together in a wonderful rural setting that included time spent on a small farm, wading in the streams examining newly hatched fingerlings, hiking, studying the local environment – you name it – students and staff were on the go from 7 in the morning until 10 at night. No wonder that everyone came home happy, but exhausted.
For a student body that is one third brand new, it was an incredible opportunity to connect, make friends and begin to feel comfortable with one another. On all of our behalf, many thanks to all of those staff members who worked tirelessly from morning to night to make this into such a great experience for our students.
Building community is a critically important part of the learning process, but it doesn’t just happen, it takes hard work on all of our parts. Thanks to our whole community for continuing to make the effort, it really pays off for our kids!