Opportunities for deep learning in summer session - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Opportunities for deep learning in summer session

Posted on June 10, 2011

by Dr. Edna Hussey on June 10, 2011

After walking several times through every class in the preschool and elementary this first week of summer school, I can say this with confidence -- learning is FUN! I got caught up in the excitement of each class observing children weaving yarn hats on looms, experimenting with gears, using manipulatives to practice their addition skills, measuring varieties of kalo plants, creating decorative wreaths with natural materials, playing a game of flag tag, counting in Mandarin using a simple deck of cards, researching interesting facts about money, writing autobiographical pieces, viewing websites about inventions, and filming original stop-and-go action video. Amazing! And this is only the first four days of summer session. Just imagine what will happen in the remaining four weeks! For photos and more information, check out the summer session blogs written by each teacher on the elementary page. (Preschool parents, check the teacher's email.)

At our assembly on Tuesday morning and afternoon, the faculty and staff introduced themselves to the students and shared a few interesting tidbits about themselves. Let's see if I can recall a few -- a grandmother with grandchildren finds time on the weekends to dive, fish, and surf. Another is hooked on photography. Others hike, paint, or are passionate about scrap-booking, gardening, and environmental issues affecting Hawaii; one dotes on cats and several love reading. Each teacher is a learner, and their enthusiasm for learning is evident. Moreover, each teacher genuinely appreciates working with children. Do take time to read these weekly blogs, intended to give you an inside view of your child's experiences.

As you check in with your children each day about what they're learning in summer session, ask: What did you learn about that surprised you? that made you wonder? that made you stop and ponder? that made you laugh? that taught you something about yourself? (Perhaps not all in succession, but one or two questions to begin conversation with your child!)

We also appreciate our summer school staff. The teaching assistants are current or former Mid-Pacific students. Some have assisted in summer school several years. The current MPI students are either employed by MPI for the summer or earning credit for community service, which is a graduation requirement at MPI. They enjoy the children and treat each student respectfully.

It feels like a community here in summer session. We are getting to know every child by name, and the students have met the faculty and staff. Every day is a new adventure of learning, not just the content of each session, but learning how to think about what we learn, how to build friendships, and how to collaborate and listen patiently and respectfully to one another. These are truly lifelong skills that children AND adults continue to hone.

Enjoy this three-day weekend together as a family.

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey