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Learning & Innovation Day, and the role of the arts in a school community

On Monday, our professional development day was our annual CFIS Learning & Innovation Day: teachers from all grade levels shared their own expertise with their colleagues, allowing everyone to learn from one another. Our ECE teachers presented sessions on fine motor skills, literacy instruction, and early numeracy, which were attended by colleagues from many other grade levels and departments. They were also able to attend other sessions of their choice, on topics ranging from gamification to executive functioning to the importance of a growth mindset. This annual PD event is a powerful reminder of the diverse and profound expertise that exists within our school community.

In a meeting with one of our ECE teachers this week, she commented to me that: “I’ve never been in a place where everyone is so proud of their school, and so happy to work here. This is not normal, and it’s really special!” Her words speak for themselves; I am also proud and happy to work at a place that makes people proud and happy!

While I always appreciate the student artwork that is prominently displayed all over our building, this week I’ve made a special intentional effort to look at it more closely and to really consider the value it adds to our school experience. From the kindergarten fish in the hallway outside my office, to the collaborative undersea mural in the upstairs elementary hallway, to the creative (and often humorous) painted lockers in our secondary wing, our students and staff are blessed to spend our days surrounded by beauty, and to benefit from high-quality art instruction at all grade levels.

On a related note, did you know…

That a principal in the U.S. included enhanced art programming in a plan to reduce student behaviour problems and a high-risk school, and it worked? This lovely piece by Sir Ken Robinson describes the importance of building schools kids want to attend, and the role of arts education in creating strong school communities. While the story is anecdotal, the results align with other research around the importance of including the arts as part of a well-rounded education:

Have a beautiful weekend!

Warm wishes;