Deepening Understanding and Relationships: Community Dialogue on Issues of Diversity in Our Environment Through the Lens of Racial Equity and Systemic Racism
A Guided Discussion and Mindfulness Session with Priya Sarman - December 16, 2020
Priya Sarman, Tufts University Buddhist Chaplain, shared with families and faculty members his reflections on self-care and mindful practice at a time when stress and disruption has become a part of our daily experiences. He reflected that self-care is key to managing our day to day. Self-care is an act of kindness to ourselves that involves the acceptance of ourselves as we are. When we take care of ourselves and fulfill the responsibilities we have determined for ourselves, we are better able to take care of others. Priya urged us to be kind to ourselves and to each other, “openly and privately. Kindness is 24/7.” He explained that being kind is the next step to mindfulness. “Mindfulness is awareness, knowing, and noticing. Mindfulness is being attentive to the experience we are having.” The practice of mindfulness reflects the Buddhist values of kindness, compassion, and love for others, Priya explained. When we practice mindfulness, we can begin developing our practice of kindness, laying the foundation of having peace in our lives. At the close of the session, Priya Sarman left us with a food for thought as we consider incorporating the practice of mindfulness in our daily life: “Everything in this experience is impermanent.”
Curriculum Night 2020 – A Virtual and Valuable Home-School Connection
At our Fall Curriculum Nights, our head teachers, Deanna, Sarah, Gaby, and Matt, painted for families a vivid picture of their children’s school life, and shared with them the fundamental guideposts and roadmaps they use to plan the school year. Parents listened with interest and appreciation. Some children popped in on this virtual event and offered smiles of acknowledgement and approval.
What was most impressive about all four virtual curriculum nights is the noticeable connection and sense of partnership between teachers and families despite the physical distance. Clearly, children occupy the center of our collective attention. They make all the extra work associated with the pandemic reasonable and worthwhile. Our school director, Hanna, also remarked that the smooth sailing of our school to-date attests to the commitment and compassion all families have shown towards the health and safety of every child and adult at our school. The school would not be where we are today without the cooperation and thoughtfulness of all our families. We are deeply grateful!
Community Discussion Groups – Engaging Families in Thoughtful Conversations
Every year, we gather families and staff together for heartfelt conversations and kinship, a time we set aside exclusively for the adults in our community for their continuous learning and for deepening their connections with one another. We do this twice a year, once in the fall and another time in the spring. We invite families, faculty and staff to share their thoughts, experiences, and questions on matters we encounter as we persist in the various roles we assume in our daily lives. We deem the Community Discussion Groups even more necessary for our school community, particularly during our current extraordinary time.
On November 18, 2020, we held our fall Community Discussion Groups over a virtual platform. Typically, three or four topics are chosen each year based on the results of a survey we send out to the community early in the school year. Our Community Discussion Groups are formed based on these topics, with each group facilitated by a parent and a staff member. An expert on each topic is also invited to join and enrich the conversation. This year, our topics reflect the times we live in today and drew many of our adult community members to this virtual gathering. The presence of all who attended was noted and very much appreciated, for it highlighted the character of our school community, that is, vibrant, respectful, articulate, and kind! The conversations were honest and deep. These discussions allowed reflection, encouraged people to be curious, and enveloped everyone in a reassuring, supportive environment. We are looking forward to the next Community Discussion Groups in the spring!