The seventh graders are getting some air in Coach Tzelnic’s Outdoor Adventures athletics program.
Balancing Our Emotional Scales
Brendan Largay, Head of School
Post Date: October 2, 2020
As we come to the end of week three, I offer here two articles that have been helpful to me as I consider words that folks–including myself–have been throwing around quite a bit this fall: flexibility and resilience.
The articles, one from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, entitled “How to Help Families and Staff Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Outbreak” and the other from Tara Haelle of The Informed Parent entitled “Your ‘Surge Capacity’ Is Depleted–It’s Why You Feel Awful” both speak to how we might intentionally develop the neurological and emotional muscles of resiliency at a time of heightened stress.
In the many conversations I have been having with teachers, parents, and students, I find folks trying to understand and manage the mental and emotional weight that this pandemic forces us to carry. These two articles offer helpful ways to stay healthy that I am sharing to guide those searching for a measure of agency in the face of it all.
In the Harvard article, you will see an illustrated scale, out of balance on its fulcrum, with negative outcomes weighing against positive outcomes in the context of COVID. Three suggestions are offered to balance the scale:
- reduce the sources of stress on the negative side
- build up sources of supportive, responsive relationships on the positive side
- continue to foster and construct core life skills to strengthen yourself and move the fulcrum towards a more positive outcome.
While the weights are likely to affect some of us more than others, these questions resonated with me: Can we identify our stressors and reduce them? How many of us are losing sleep? How much is the pandemic dominating our dialogue around the dinner table? In what ways are we losing touch with those folks who, in more normal times, help keep us in balance and hold us up?
Similarly, how are we intentionally building up our responsive relationships to bolster the positive side of the scale? To whom are you turning throughout this, and how are they helping you to find balance? Have you yet considered what you need from those relationships and asked for it? Where might you find those responsive relationships—at work or with your child’s school?
Finally, to shift the fulcrum, consider what the core skills you need look like today. My best guess is that while many look the same as they did before March, some have changed, and it makes me wonder: Have you built those up to help you better navigate the challenges of this time?
As you ponder all of these questions, I would invite you to turn to the other article I shared about ‘surge capacity.’ In many ways, it is the consequence of being out of balance by the metrics of that first article. It speaks to why we’re all so tired, even as we seek to restore ourselves by returning to school and work. It speaks to how our internal processes in times of great stress have been on overdrive since March. To suggest that it is unsustainable may be the understatement of the school year. And yet, it provided more insight into why there are those moments nowadays when our tanks are truly empty. More than that, though, it offers reminders about how we might refuel—mentally and emotionally.
For me, a significant source for refueling has come this week. The sounds and sights of our campus full of children and faculty inspired and challenged at every turn, have replenished my energy and ignited joy. I hope you and yours can find what you need to refuel this weekend and that these articles will help some in that effort.
How to Help Families and Staff Build Resilience During the COVID-19 Outbreak, Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University
Your ‘Surge Capacity’ Is Depleted–It’s Why You Feel Awful, Tara Haelle, Medium
October 5 to October 12
Monday, October 5
School Picture Day
Tuesday, October 6
7–8:30 p.m., Grade 6 Family Social; Zoom Gathering
7–8:30 p.m., Kindergarten Family Social; Zoom Gathering
Wednesday, October 7
School Picture Day
7–8:30 p.m., Grade 1 Family Social; Zoom Gathering
Thursday, October 8
School Picture Day
6–7:00 p.m., Head of School Office Hours; Zoom Gathering
7–8:30 p.m., Grade 8 Family Social; Zoom Gathering
Friday, October 9
10 a.m.–1 p.m., Jam-the-Van Clothing Drive for Cradles to Crayons; Belmont Day School upper parking lot
Monday, October 12
School Closed for Indigenous Peoples’ Day
For all Zoom gatherings, please refer to the Parent and Faculty Portals for links and passwords
Cradles to Crayons Clothing Collection
Friday, October 9
10 a.m. to 1 p.m., upper parking area
The parents’ association is partnering with Cradles to Crayons to host a Jam-the-Van event, collecting new and gently used clothing and shoes for area children in need. Help families in urgent need of essentials by bringing your bagged donations to the BDS upper parking lot for a safe, contact-free drop-off. Accepting donations of clothing, winter outerwear, and everyday shoes.
We Can’t Wait to See Their Smiling Faces!
This year, individual student pictures will be taken this coming Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday, October 5, 7, and 8. Teachers will let parents know which day their class cohort or advisory group will be photographed.
The main photo days will be Monday and Wednesday; Thursday will be a make-up day for pictures of students who are absent on their picture day.
Please note: The photographer will be following all of our school’s precautionary guidelines while on campus and will be distanced from students, who will have their masks off while their photo is taken. We will not be taking whole-cohort or whole-grade pictures this year. Instead, the photographer has proposed doing group photos similar to the one below.
If you have any questions, please contact Catherine David, assistant to the head of school and registrar, at email@example.com.
Lunch & Snack Menu
October 5 to October 9
Snack: apple muffins; nectarines
Lunch: vegetarian lo mein with broccoli; fortune cookies; spinach salad with carrots and Asian dressing; cut fruit cups; milk and water
Snack: pretzel twists; bananas
Lunch: grilled chicken with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers; falafel with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers; naan pita; tzatziki; cut fruit cups; milk and water
Snack: Cheez-Its; local apples
Lunch: turkey and bacon wrap with ranch dressing; seasoned tofu wrap with hummus; carrots; whole-grain chocolate chip cookies; mixed green salad; cut fruit cups; milk and water
Snack: applesauce; Cape Cod chips
Lunch: cheese pizza; red pepper slices; chocolate milk, milk, and water
Snack: pears; saltines
Please Display Name Card In Vehicle
During arrival and dismissal times, it is very important that all parents have your name card displayed prominently in the windshield of your car. The quicker our faculty can see the name, the quicker they can check our health lists in the morning and call your child promptly in the afternoon. We greatly appreciate your help in this process to safely and efficiently get our students into and out of the school buildings each day.
HEALTH & WELLNESS NEWS
First Week of School-Day Testing
An Update from School Nurse Liz LaRocque
Beginning this week, all students will be tested during their school day on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday at the same time each week. Even a power outage, fire drill, and downpour couldn’t stop our testing on Wednesday! Flexibility continues to be the name of the game in 2020.
This week also saw many students out celebrating Yom Kippur. If your student is absent on their testing day, our policy is to test them on the next testing day. If a student becomes ill at school on a testing day, we will test them before they go home. If a student is home ill on a testing day, we will ask them to come to campus and remain in their car in the parking lot to be tested in their car.
We continue to have excellent testing results, as you can see from this week’s dashboard. (See accompanying graphic)
To date, we have had no positive tests. Most tests have come back negative; some tests have come back inconclusive. An inconclusive result means that for some reason—a testing error, an inadequate sample, or not enough DNA on the sample for a definitive diagnosis—the lab cannot render a negative result.
Everyone must test negative to be in school. In the event of an inconclusive test, we ask that person to remain home from school until they test negative. We are able to have them come in to test 9 a.m. on the next testing day and will get that test right to the lab in hopes of same-day results to minimize time out of school. You will receive a direct call if your child’s test results are inconclusive or positive.
Finally, we know there have been issues with the reporting software. Recent workarounds have proven helpful for some and not for others. Liz LaRocque continues to work with the software company to resolve these issues but is able to implement the changes mostly on the weekends. If problems persist, please email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Flu Shots Mandatory for All Massachusetts Students
Immunization against the flu is mandatory for all Massachusetts students this year. Students must receive a flu shot before December 31, 2020 and provide documentation to the school in order to attend school in 2021. Flu shots can be obtained at your pediatrician’s office, local pharmacy, or town flu clinic. As soon as your child has received their flu shot, please upload that documentation to Magnus under “Immunizations.” Please email the nurses at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.
Please support the Community Give Back Challenge before it ends on October 4
We are excited to announce that we have raised over $56,000 for Belmont Day School’s Annual Fund and COVID-19 Relief Campaign since the Community Give Back Challenge was announced. Because of your generosity, our wonderful anonymous donor will donate $5,000 to our community partner, Partners In Health!
Our donor is committed to donating up to $25,000 to Partners In Health. Your generosity will double the impact now until October 4 and increase the support for Partners In Health. We challenge you to be inspired by this generosity and make a gift today.
We invite you to click here to learn about Partners In Health, the ways your gift will make a difference, and how to contribute. Thank you!
Getting the Word Out About Our Open House Events
Are you a social media butterfly? Can you help spread the word about our school’s upcoming admission events? If you are connected to your local listservs, parent groups, NextDoor neighborhoods, etc., Belmont Day would love your help in getting the word out about our school.
Suggested posting content:
Belmont Day, an elementary & middle school that is Pre-K to Grade 8, will be hosting several virtual Admissions events to highlight their amazing faculty, curriculum, and programming. Come see why Belmont Day students love to learn!
Lower School Open House – virtual event
Saturday, October 17, 2020, 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Middle School Open House – virtual event
Saturday, November 14, 1 to 3 p.m.
Visit belmontday.org/admissions for instructions on how to register to get the links for these events (and more!) or email Judy Bright at email@example.com with questions.
Another great way to raise awareness of these open houses is by liking and sharing the event listings on Facebook: click here for lower school and click here for middle school.
Thanks for your help!
–The Admissions team: Liz, Lauren & Judy
Deadline for Pre-k Sibling Applications is October 30
We welcome parents of current Belmont Day students who have a child who will be four years old by September 1, 2021 to participate in our early admission to pre-kindergarten process. The preliminary application and parent questionnaire must be submitted by Friday, October 30 for your child to receive this priority consideration.
Families with pre-k sibling applicants should visit www.ravenna-hub.com, create an account (or add an additional student to their existing account) and then add Belmont Day School. When you select the Pre-k Sibling/Faculty Child Application option, you will see detailed information about the necessary steps, required video recordings to be done at home, and other deadlines. If you have any questions, please contact Liz Parfit, director of admissions.
Pre-kindergarten: Into the Woods …
In pre-kindergarten, we have always viewed the surrounding woods as an extension of our classroom. This year, in particular, we are excited to spend additional time exploring and discovering the woods and we have visited on a daily basis. For many reasons, the woods are the perfect backdrop for authentic learning, problem-solving, and play for young children. We have explored trails, visited “nature’s playground,” woven our way through a rock maze, and climbed higher than we thought possible.
This year, we are also exploring the role of emergent curriculum in our program. How do the children’s interactions with the environment provide an opportunity for further exploration, purposeful learning, and application of foundational academic and social skills? Already we know how engaging this can be.
During a recent trip to “nature’s playground,” a group of children noticed pieces of bark that had fallen off a downed tree. The group wondered aloud, compared the pieces, and even attempted to remove additional pieces. Returning the next day, students continued their exploration, found new pieces, and worked together to carry a large piece of bark back to our classroom.
The following day, we set out to collect as much bark as we could carry back to the room. Students explored how bark can be used as a building material. They balanced, stacked, and arranged the bark to create small creations. Pinecones, rocks, and tree blocks were also provided. At first, they were unsure how to build with these natural materials, as they looked different from the building materials they had been previously provided. We watched as students navigated this new experience—they made observations, shared ideas, and problem-solved when their bark creations fell apart. This is just the beginning of how a simple discovery has sparked an investigation of trees, bark, and working with natural materials. We look forward to sharing where this journey takes us.
– Kate Oznick, pre-kindergarten teacher
Seventh Grade Rides the Wave
In seventh grade, students are investigating the question, “How does a magnifying glass work?” We started this investigation by looking at the properties of visible light. In order to do this, students first did “the wave” in class. This allowed us to better understand the scientific definition of a wave. Next, we used Slinkies to model light waves. With the Slinkies, we discovered properties of waves such as the relationship between energy and amplitude, the relationship between wavelength and frequency, and what happens when a light wave hits a reflective surface. Finally, we related these properties to light and discussed how different colors are made up of different wavelengths/frequencies.
– Leal Carter, grade 7 teacher and adviser
Ensembles: Orchestra Gives Us “Simple Gifts”
The Belmont Day School Orchestra is back in action this fall, learning and performing some familiar songs. A staple for the orchestra through the years is “Simple Gifts,” an American Shaker Hymn. The Shakers were a religious community that flourished in the United States during the 18th and 19th centuries and composed thousands of songs, of which “Simple Gifts” may be the most famous. The song has been adopted by many others, most famously used by the American composer Aaron Copland (1900-1990) in his ballet, “Appalachian Spring.”
It is a Belmont Day School Orchestra favorite and we thought it would be a lovely way to come together and begin our new school year!
– Meghan Carye ’91, strings teacher and orchestra director
Arts Update: Eighth Grade Explores Wire Frames and Word Art
In their art intensive, eighth graders are taking on a number of interesting artistic challenges. The first lesson they’re on involves platonic solids and making wireframe examples. Students are also drawing using word art symmetry to create pictures that include a word that was rotated eight times around the center.
– Bill Smith, woodworking and 21st century skills teacher
Parents’ Association News
Your dues and participation in PA fundraising activities allow the PA to fulfill its mission of fostering a community, supporting the parents of Belmont Day School, promoting communication between parents and the school, and supporting the school through educational, social, and fundraising activities. The suggested contribution is $50. Any additional donations over the suggested dues amount of $50 are very much appreciated and can be considered a tax-deductible gift to the Parents’ Association. The Development Office will acknowledge as such. You can make payment via the BDS PA’s secure online payment portal here.
The Virtual Pumpkin Patch Sale Was a Success
The fundraiser wrapped up on Tuesday. Thanks to all who ordered, and for the generous contributions toward appreciation pumpkins for faculty and staff! Pumpkins will be sent home on October 13.
Flower Bulb Fundraiser
Like to garden? Don’t know a thing about gardening, but like flowers? Have we got a site for you! Click here to browse and buy your bulbs to get started. You get great bulbs to plant now for surprise flowers in the spring, (isn’t it almost like magic when they first come up?) or buy bulbs to bloom inside during the winter. The PA will receive 50% of what you spend. The proceeds will support teachers and grade parents and will help secure great guests for assemblies and more. The last day to place your order is October 15. Don’t miss this sale! Check out this flyer for more details and if you have any questions, please contact Lia Meisinger, Kelly Baker, or Mamie Cantor.
Lost and Found Last Call!
Please be on the lookout for a last call email tomorrow, Saturday, October 3 with a link to items that were left at school last year. We have extended the deadline to respond to Sirri Spiesel, firstname.lastname@example.org, to claim items to Tuesday, October 6.
Setting the Stage for Healthy Eating Habits
Friday, October 23, 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
MassGeneral Hospital for Children is hosting a series of online seminars for parents. The next in the series will be on building strategies that can help your child build a healthy relationship with food. Taylor Le, RD, LDN, CNSC, and Meaghan Alexander, MS, RD, LDN, CNSC, of the Center for Feeding and Nutrition at MGHfC, share strategies for feeding children of all ages. Click here to learn more about the entire seminar series.