Mrs. Jen Hassler,
CW West Elementary School Principal
The season of joy is upon us. As dreams of sugarplum fairies, gelt, and twinkling lights dance in the brains of CW West students, school is still in session and learning expectations have not been diminished. Our school calendar has 40 weeks of instruction each year. Teachers need all 40 weeks to expose their students to the standards mandated by the state of Pennsylvania. This can become a challenge on days when the holidays are looming.
Although the vocabulary words of choice in education have become assessment, accountability, and perseverance, I have been reminded lately that our clients are children. Children who are filled with the potential for joy. When schools approach learning with a mindset for creating excitement and happiness, daunting tasks become enjoyable.
In Joy: A Subject Schools Lack, by Susan Engel, the author suggests that schools often approach learning like taking a dose of medicine. It is necessary, although yucky tasting. She recommends thinking about learning as food. When you eat something delicious and healthy, you want more. When we teach our children to love learning, to ask questions, be curious, and find joy in the experiences of the classroom, they will want to learn for the rest of their lives.
So our mission at West in December is to encourage academics through the eyes of a child. We can't afford to lose these weeks of instruction, but our teachers are encouraged to use the added merriment of the students as a fuel for present and future learning.
As for parents and families, if you view small moments in your child's life as learning experiences, you can surely find them in a flock of migrating birds overhead, a giant moon in the night sky, or a holiday recipe. Take notice during the next several weeks how the capacity for joy is so easy for kids. And then consider the impact we could have if we attach that feeling to something as critical as learning. We would not have any boundaries.
Mrs. Jen Hassler, Principal
Conrad Weiser West Elementary School
West Elementary School Office: 610-589-2501