Entering the holiday season is always exciting in schools! Decorations are hung, concerts are performed, Christmas plays become the norm, and student anticipation of days off and family time infuse the classroom environment. This can make daily life a real challenge for teachers as they try to continue inspiring students by presenting curriculum that will keep students focused on the skills they need to learn. Patience, creativity and resilience will be called upon to keep everyone working hard as we approach the Christmas season. To provide support, many of our activities are implemented to provide engaging, hands-on and experiential learning to meet the needs of students during this season. This aligns with the professional development we have offered to faculty to make their classrooms and the learning experience more meaningful for our students.
Thanksgiving was a time when we saw heart-warming focus on gratitude and giving thanks for all we have in our lives. All three Nardin schools spent time having students express their gratitude and thanks through preparation of meals to share with our community, collections of food items to deliver to the poor, liturgical and ecumenical services, songs, prayers and posted thoughts of gratitude in our hallways. It was inspiring for everyone at school to see the humility and compassion of our students. Personally, I love the fact that Thanksgiving does not revolve around gifts, but instead time with family and friends.
As the Advent season approaches, we find ourselves busy as can be with academics, shopping, wrapping, etc. In trying to balance all this activity, students can find themselves overwhelmed and not focused on what they need to do to keep their studies on track. Author Julianne O’Connor put it best when she wrote, “It’s not about presents but it is about your presence. Therein lies the spirit of the holiday season.” How beautiful that thought is! As we move deeper into December and approach this holy season, I look forward to observing our youngest students’ enthusiasm for holiday singing, our school-wide outreach to children in need with gifts and coats, and a kindness of spirit that permeates the buildings and hallways. Our students learn that it only “takes a minute” to do good for others and in return ‘good’ will come back to us in unmeasurable ways.
So, join me in doing as author Janice Maeditere says, “Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts.” With open hearts, let us “take a minute” to really celebrate the season as we should. God bless us, everyone.