Lower School News

Students Lead March on Campus for Kindness, Peace, and Love
Communications

In these uncertain times, Nueva students are the tides of change, leading the next generation to be kinder than the one before. On Monday, February 5, dozens of lower school students raised their colorful, handmade signs in a Kindness March to spread love and compassion around Nueva.

Students sitting with posters

Led in a rally cry by first grader Kaci G., who was inspired by her recent participation in the Women’s March in San Francisco, students marched to their own beat around the Hillsborough campus chanting, “Hey Hey! Ho Ho! Kindness is the way to go!” With signs reading “Be Kind!” “Choose Kindness over Hate!” and “Fill Someone’s Bucket!” students in the Lower School followed Kaci on a route they mapped out the week before, spending their recess time spreading kindness and smiles.

Kaci’s mother, Lisa Garosi, said, “Kaci liked being a part of the crowd [in the San Francisco Women’s March], knowing they were doing something bigger than themselves.” Being in an environment at Nueva where students are empowered to speak their minds and to share and implement their ideas, Kaci felt passionate about sharing the energy she felt at the Women’s March with her classmates, and “it grew beyond what she originally envisioned in her head.”

Girl holding a positive sign

Kaci is a member of Nueva’s Community Committee, which meets on Mondays in the Lower School with the goal to “Make Nueva Better.” “There was a big focus this year on community and taking care of each other,” said lower school SEL teacher Lisa Hinshelwood. Whoever wanted to join the Kindness March was welcome at the Community Committee meeting the week before the March to help make eye-catching signs. Messages to “treat people the way you want to be treated” permeated the room, with kind words like “I love your poster!” being spoken from student to student.

Social-emotional learning, Nueva's internationally recognized program, has been fundamental to the school’s commitment to nurture the whole child since its inception in 1967. The skills of SEL are formally taught at every grade level beginning in prekindergarten, with curriculum spiraling through topics and presented in age-appropriate forms as students progress from year to year. Nueva students learn in a safe environment where their passions are supported, their questions encouraged, their ideas welcomed. When Kaci attended the Women’s March, she said she “thought lots of people would like it and would be nicer to each other and the community.” Thanks to her teachers and community, only two weeks passed from her original idea to the actual march.

 


 By Louise Schultze, Interim Director of Communications

February 14, 2018



Read More

Learning to Care for Living Creatures

We have all learned over the past year that while virtual learning can be done well, it can never replace the experience of being on campus. Lower school students have been back on campus since late October, and this spring they have been learning to care for silkworms and chickens, an experience that could not be replicated during virtual learning. 

Catching Up with . . . Izzy Mayer
Izzy Mayer is one of Nueva’s second grade lead teachers. While she is new to this role, she is not new to Nueva, having previously been an associate for two years. Drawing on the insights and experiences she gained through the Nueva ITP program and inspired by her students’ powerful sense of curiosity and humor, Izzy is proving to be an invaluable member of the second-grade teaching team.
Leonardo and Lisa Visit a Class of Renaissance Kids

“Good afternoon, Lisa. I’m so glad we could take a break from painting to join this kindergarten class.”

“Hello, Leonardo.” 

So began Paul’s and Rashida’s kindergarten class just before Thanksgiving break, one that took students all the way back to 15th century Florence to meet Leonardo da Vinci (Paul) and Mona Lisa (Rashida). 

Environmental Citizenship Program Launches Ambassadorship Role

Kindergarten associate teacher Carrie Stouffer has been named Nueva’s first lower school environmental citizenship ambassador. The role of the environmental citizenship ambassador evolved from the school’s desire to build strong, responsive, and effective relationships with faculty and division heads in all three divisions.

A PreK student playing in a puddle in a sandbox

PreK students have been our pioneers of hybrid learning! Watch scenes from their life on campus and hear more from students about their experiences this year.

Lower School Mavericks Days Provide Teachers Time to Prepare for our Return to Campus

As the lower school plans to return to campus came into greater focus late last month, Lower School Head Megan Terra felt strongly that she needed to find an extended amount of time for her teachers to plan, discuss, and put in action all that is involved with welcoming students back to their in-person classrooms.

Lower school teachers were incredibly grateful for the time Megan and our Mavericks Days programs afforded them. They used the time to prepare, create, and discuss every aspect of the upcoming return to campus.

Investigation Provides Foundational Theme of Kindergarten

Questions abound in our lower school classrooms, and student inquiry is the driving force behind the yearlong theme in kindergarten. This theme of investigation provides a through line for a number of explorations that kindergarteners will engage in over the course of the year, the first of which is a focus on identity. 

Literably Literally Helps Build Student Literacy

With the move to remote learning, and the challenges teachers face of being able to meet one-on-one with their young students, reading specialist Liza Zassenhaus introduced the lower school faculty to Literably, a reading assessment tool that provides teachers with information on student accuracy, fluency, and comprehension.