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There are so many new and exciting changes happening in the downstairs classroom: new faces, new environment, new things to study, and new areas to explore. The most exciting is welcoming our new teachers, including the downstairs co-lead teacher, Sushma, our Afternoon Lead teacher, Shireen, and our new assistant, Abigail. All of the teachers come with excellent experience, new ideas and abundant enthusiasm. This is how it is supposed to be: so much fun! I would also like to acknowledge Ana’s continuous hard work around the school. She steps in wherever she is most needed and is a huge support to the staff, children, and parents, and has been for many years. She is our rock and we could not do this without her.

I have really enjoyed the new projects we have been doing together downstairs. We have been using dried flowers to make beautiful flower arrangements (see picture), introducing and exploring radical symmetry, and have been especially enjoying our pet toads. We have been spending more time outside doing creative work such as painting and using oil pastels

The last of the new shelves are being installed this weekend. The design magician, and longtime friend, Ken Gwin of Art Effects, designed and installed the lovely curved walls and now the beautiful white shelving to house our materials. With so much more shelving space, we are able to display additional materials, establishing areas devoted to math, language, care of the environment, practical life, sensorial, art, botany and biology, along with a special cozy corner for Kimochi time. Kimochis, originated in Japan, are communication tools that look and feel like toys. They are a playful way to help children learn how to identify and express their feelings. When children can practice communicating their feelings effectively, they are more likely to develop a better sense of self, as well as positive social skills that can help support healthy relationships.

Looking forward, the children voted to start decorating the classroom for Valentine’s Day, and who am I to argue, as it is my favorite celebration Day! Love is the theme that will permeate our environment—and on a special note—please don’t forget those very special Valentine’s Day cards to hand out on the 14th!

All for now with heartfelt thanks or the support expressed by so many of you.

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