From middle level teacher Will Hudson: I am pleased to report that our first kayaking excursion of the year was a great success! I knew it would be, because TCS is basically amazing, but I'm not too proud to admit that the prospect of schlepping a fleet of kayaks and gear, wrangling and training 45 middle schoolers, plus getting them on and off the water without incident, for the first time ever, was...daunting. So, a big shout out to all the Ocean teachers, Ms. Martin, and Mr. Julio for helping out in myriad ways to ensure that today ran smoothly, safely, and was a lot of fun for everyone - thank you!
Over the next few weeks, individual Middle Level classes will get back on the water for another day, this time with their buddies from the Pond (K-2).
I am excited about this opportunity for our older students to not only develop positive relationships with the younger members of our school community, but also to make a significant contribution to a meaningful experience for our younger students.
Agency - Belonging - Confidence and Competence - the ABCs of adolescent development, as we've come to call them, collectively represent the philosophical lynchpin of our Middle Level program. Our younger students will be able to go kayaking this year because these older young people are here to make it happen. And what better way to temper the tempest that is adolescence than by putting them in charge of keeping track of and caring for a single kindergartener, first, or second grader! They may grumble at first, but I've seen it happen many times - they soften, are attentive, caring, and will bend down low, all while standing a bit taller. It's a great thing to witness and it's hard to overstate the value of these experiences.
Be on the lookout for an update when your child will be back on the water. I look forward to many more experiences and opportunities for growth, learning, and connection this school year.
(Note: Over the past several months, our TCS faculty trained with forest preserve staff to become kayak instructors, understanding kayak safety, and granting them use of the forest preserve equipment.)