Four years ago Scott talked to our then Principal Sacha about turning an unused concrete pad in our school to a natural play area.
Yesterday we had the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new SAS Eagles Nest Outdoor Learning Laboratory. It was a great moment.
It’s been a long 4 years with many ups and downs. Money was raised, money was taken away, people committed and people backed out.
The one thing that never wavered was Scott. He pushed and planned, wrote grant proposals, begged for money, established committees and a dealt with a zillion other details both tiny and massive. Yesterday it all came together in a beautiful celebration called Nature Night.
Here are a few pics.
The ribbon waiting to be cut.
After the ribbon cutting ceremony and the formal induction ceremony there were fun activities all over the school for kids and their parents to enjoy.
The Story of The Nature Reserve: An Outdoor Learning Laboratory
by Emmy David
“Well, because I knew it was good, and I knew it was right”.
That was the response that Mr. Hossack gave to a group of third grade students who asked him how he kept committed to a vision of the Nature Reserve after facing many obstacles.
It is that perseverance many at Shanghai American School possess when committed to making each and every space of our school “good and right”.
5 years ago no one could have imagined that a lonely tree in a cement courtyard would now be the focal point and first impression when visitors, students, teachers, and parents enter our school. No one would have thought a space that was designated for nothing other than a pass-through could now be a place where learning of an entirely different nature would take place…yes the pun was definitely intended!
It was within that 5 years Mr. Hossack and few other committed volunteers began to wonder about exciting possibilities for this courtyard. They began to dream on paper, stretch the limits of even their own imaginations, and seek the resources they needed to make it all a reality. Along the way, the project faced many obstacles and frustrations – at times even being placed firmly on the back burner. However, teaching to a mission that demands commitment, compassion, integrity, and courage is best done through living it right in front of our students.
As the Nature Reserve continues to grow, bloom, blossom, seed, and evolve we can be sure that it will continue to inspire in all of our students a lifelong passion for learning, a commitment to act with integrity and compassion, and the courage to live their dreams.
Blake doesn’t quite have the hang of Christmas lists. We don’t live near stores, we don’t see commercials and for the most part we only shop twice a year, in the summer and at Christmas. And when we do shop, most of the things we buy are things like an 8 month supply of toothpaste or enough Kraft dinner to see us through til summer.
So Blake’s Christmas list looks like this.
1. Some Pokemon cards. Maybe 3. No wait, 5.
2. Snow. Lots of it.
3. He wants to have saved enough money from his allowance to buy him and Erin a present at a real toy store.
4. He wants to see his cousins, all his cousins, at the same time.
He doesn’t get Christmas lists, and I am okay with that.
A big part of me was dreading being the parent of a first grader mostly because of homework. I loved having no homework in Kinder and PreK, and I was very anxious about grade 1 homework expectations. Neither Scott and I see a lot of value in homework, particularly some of the busywork homework assignments we’ve seen. Reading, yes! I can get behind reading, and listening to stories, also awesome! but the rest is mostly crap. And we have stacks of research showing the value of after school play vs homework, but I digress.
Because the truth is I had nothing to worry about. First grade homework at SAS is a breath of fresh air!! Each month Blake comes home with a grid full of fun and amazing activities to choose from each Monday and Wednesday night. As he chooses, we mark of the spots and fill in a small form that goes to and from school. So far we have gone on a nature walk, baked cookies, played board games, watched the Lunar Eclipse together, drawn cool pictures and more! As homework!! I am a happy momma!
On Monday Blake chose words in shaving cream. He wanted to practice days of the week, so we did.
Our school has a pretty great after school activity program for students grade 1 and up. Because Blake is a staff kid he’s had some sneak previews in Kinder and Pre K. I offered ASAs that he could and did attend. This year is the first year he can go all on his own. He chose Lego Engineering and is having a great time. Naturally I popped over for a few minutes to snap a picture or two.
On the weekend, Blake, Scotty and I went to a fancy brunch with friends. In the cab on the way there Blake asked me when I was getting a dog. I told him I would get a dog when he went to University to fill my empty nest. He told us that he would not be going to University at all. Instead he is planning on going to Culinary School.
Eventually Scott and I stopped laughing and told our picky little eater that if he wants to get in to culinary school he is going to have to start eating new and different foods in new and different ways. Not many famous chefs only eating carrot sticks and hard boiled eggs.
So at brunch that day he tried some different types of sushi.
Today was the first day of our October Break. It’s a five day weekend for teachers, 9 days for kids. Lots of our friends are traveling, but we opted for a staycation. It was the perfect choice. The sky was clear and the weather was warm. Today there were only two families at the Links. Us and the Parhams. The boys had the whole compound to themselves and they LOVED it! Swimming, playing, riding, building, exploring. Just go, go, go.
Here’s to four more days of awesome!