Dear Nature’s Lab School World*,
It has been hard to find words to address a tragic school shooting. We are all trying to process why/how something like this could happen and it brings so much sadness thinking about everyone being affected by this again; the victims, their families, and all of us who now worry about “what-ifs”
A tragedy such as this is always difficult, and during COVID and isolation for many, and as many people live daily with anxiety, it hits even harder. This should never have happened yet it reminds us here at NLS why our CORE values: RELATIONSHIPS and social-emotional skills are paramount!
Our children at NLS preschool connect with adults and children all day long. Every day there is love, individualized attention, conversations, and support for ALL children to know that they are loved and accepted for who they are. There are no screens, no distractions, and no unreasonable rules. They are connecting and interacting with their community and learning social-emotional skills from all situations daily. I believe this is the answer to getting closer to ending the crazy madness around the world.
I am reminded of many early childhood educators that have dedicated their lives to creating a better experience for children with the ultimate goal of creating a better world. Maria Montessori, said: “The goal of a Montessori education is world peace.” Rudolf Steiner dedicated his life to children’s connection to the larger world, including world peace, and so many of us dedicate our lives to creating quality, loving environments for our children to learn the most essential lessons in life…
At NLS we continue our love and passion for teaching kindness, encouraging friendships, scaffolding peaceful negotiation, and learning skills to learn about our emotions. We continue to celebrate educational milestones like numbers and letters, but the real successes happen when our kids are kind, think creatively, work out a problem, show compassion, and contribute to our community. These are the lessons we all need to foster and they are the path to a positive, shared future, and they are the skills that bring the most valued rewards. These skills are learned and practiced within the simple act of play and result in Love. Connection. Understanding. and Inner Peace.
Our children “stumble” through these lessons as they “just play” and received kind encouragement and scaffolding from the adults around them. They may get the words wrong, grab a little too aggressively or annoy a friend at times. That’s ok! They do this because they are yet to learn a “better way” We are here to model those better ways, hug, comfort, and support them through a world full of uncertainty, and newness. It is our responsibility as adults to teach our little humans the better way, and that they are SAFE, and that they are LOVED, UNCONDITIONALLY LOVED.
Here at NLS our job is to keep your children safe and love them unconditionally and we will continue to do so by using these tragic events as extra encouragement.
At home, I encourage you not to expose your children to tragic news. Children this age are too young to understand. It is best to keep them away from the media and to be mindful of adult conversations (including phone calls) when they are around. We can’t control everything, so they may hear about it (especially if they have older siblings or friends). However, when they ask questions or make comments, answer with reassurance that they are safe, and we are here to keep them safe (even when your mind goes to the worst-case scenarios). Avoid giving too much information. At this developmental stage, less is more, and listen attentively so you can provide appropriate answers.
If questions arise at school, we will provide the same reassurance and redirect the children. We will also let you know if any worries are brought up.
We are all in this together, and I wish you peace and safety.
With much love and appreciation,
*Thank you Holly Gold from Rockridge Little School for the inspiration for this message. This blog is a modified version of a message Holly sent out to her school's families.