John Medina is a neuroscientist focused on the genes involved in human brain development. He is a thought leader on how the brain sciences might be used to influence the way we educate children. Through his lectures and his books, and other resources, we know that nature or genetics controls about fifty percent of a person's intellectual capacity and the environment or nurture plays a role in the rest. Researchers agree that children brains best learn through connections and stories in spaces free from anxiety, worry and conflict. These ideas inform how we design instruction, social emotional learning and our learning spaces. If students are supported through an array of emotions, it clears space for new complex ideas and challenging inquiries.
We have been in school for thirteen days, and so much has been accomplished. Students have formed trusting relationships with all the caring adults, attended three school meetings anchoring them to the larger community, engaged in cultural activities that take them beyond our walls, and played with their friends and family at the all-school barbecue. For our students, Brookwood is already a comfortable respite, as evidenced in morning drop-off, as students run with abandon from their parents to their homerooms. Watching their smiles, backed with confidence and ownership of their school, is the best way to start my day.
This weekend, my family is returning to Brooklyn, where Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year is largely celebrated. Many of my lifelong friends will attend synagogue services to hear sermons of hope. These holy days will lead to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, in the coming weeks. Although I will not be participating in their festivities, I have learned it is appropriate to wish them a Happy New Year. Although I will be visiting my old neighborhood, I look forward to Tuesday when I return to Manchester to experience more of what makes Brookwood a special community, and I contribute to the culture by continuing to listen, learn and collaborate with educators and families.
Have a wonderful weekend and see you at morning drop-off!