Today, The Park School welcomed over 400 grandparents’ and special friends to campus for a day of music, classroom visits, and community spirit, and the idea that resonates with me so powerfully as I consider the day’s events is how very proud Park’s students are to share their school with the people who mean so much to them. They eagerly welcome their visitors to their classrooms, show off their most recent projects, and guide them around campus, and our Lower Division students manifested such joy in their “informance” this morning that we could only smile and applaud them with our full hearts. All of this attests to the extraordinary level of investment of self that each Park student brings with them to 171 Goddard Avenue each day.
I see that joy at Lower Division carpool every morning, when children literally run into the school building…except for when they hear their name called out by a friend, in which case they stop, they wait – or sometimes, run back in the direction of the friend whom they great with enthusiastic hugs – before both run off to class together. They greet our morning team daily with stories of their latest discoveries, or weekend accomplishments at a soccer game, or as they show off their spirit week outfits. My colleagues who support Upper Division morning drop off have their own versions of these stories, but the common theme is this: Park students arrive excited for the day ahead, and they come prepared to devote their unreserved effort to everything they do. While all the values captured in The Park Portrait are essential to our educational mission, “Joyful Learning” is the one that makes its presence known most vividly, day after day.
Joyful learning means we tackle new challenges, knowing that it’s diving in and giving things our best that matters, more than the objective outcome. Joyful learning means having the courage to jump into the unknown, knowing that friends and peers will support and applaud you for trying. Joyful learning means sustaining excitement for what you learn, and for sharing that excitement with others, teaching them by example. It’s infectious and effervescent – almost literally bubbling over with spirit. What could possibly be better to fuel a learning environment than that?
Witnessing today’s event left me with a profound sense of gratitude for all that our families, our students, our teachers and staff bring to campus every day. I’m grateful for the grandparents and special friends who provided such a wonderful opportunity to remind us of that joy by presenting our students with the opportunity to show off “their Park.” And as we head off into the Thanksgiving holiday this afternoon, I wish everyone that same level of joy that comes from sharing what matters to us with those we love most.