Did you know that the majority of our teachers are or are soon to be certified Master Naturalists? We are partnering with the amazing Montana Natural History Center to educate our educators about the natural world around us and all of its' fascinating inhabitants. Over the course of the next two years, our teachers will be taking classes focusing on insects, birding, geology, wild flower identification, and much more! Here's a peak at the last training which focused on skulls and mammal tracking! Equal parts laughter and learning!
Our Happy Hour this month was in the form of a Saunter up Lincoln Hills! A wonderful fellow name Kevin who is knowledgeable about the archaeological history of the area hiked with us and directed us to some cool old artifacts. We also enjoyed a party of wildflowers and some great bird watching! What better way to connect with our fellow educators than out on a hillside in the fresh air of a cool spring Missoula evening!?!
We had such a great time skating together at our March Teacher Happy Hour! We did the limbo, danced to some songs from our youth, took some funny pictures, attempted some tricks, and loved spending time together!
This month, the Clark Fork School staff attended a training on Big Body Play- which is the type of large gross motor play in which all children need to engage for healthy physical and emotional development. The class was taught by the wonderful Grace Decker from Child Care Resources and involved identifying big body play, discussions touching on comfort levels and safety, and brainstorming ways to implement this kind of play in our daily curriculum. Our next step will be to have in-depth discussions as a staff to develop rules and guidelines.
As Grace Decker says: "All behavior is communication." Children show us their needs through their actions. If a child needs quiet time, we respect that and give them the space to be calm or alone. Children NEED to be physical in a myriad of ways to develop to their full potential. If we are constantly needing to redirect play because it becomes too "wild," then it may be that we need to give them an outlet to appropriately express themselves through more rambunctious movement. Having school-wide big body play guidelines will ensure that we do this safely.
Keep an eye out for more info and updates about how CFS implements big body play and meets the needs of our students!
The staff gathered together this past weekend to share food, laughter and time outside around a bonfire. We exchanged books with our Teacher Buddies, enjoyed each other's canine friends, and connected with each other and some of our partners as well. What better way to celebrate the season than to be outside together!
Every month the CFS faculty organize a happy hour to spend time together outside of work. This month, we had a Pottery Painting Party at the ZACC. So much fun!
CFS Teacher Community Agreement - Developed by faculty members at our August training and practiced every day.
Have fun. Celebrate!
We're friends, too
Take care of yourself
Share, fail, support - CFS is a safe place
Respect - each other, time, ideas
Be a team
CFS classroom teachers meet every Tuesday for a weekly staff meeting. This time together is precious for brainstorming, collaboration, support, and fun. The following are some recurring agenda items that enable us to engage as professionals and draw from our most valuable resource - each other.
- Critical Friends Group - A teacher presents a problem or dilemma that they are currently pondering to the faculty. We then take turns asking clarifying questions to ensure a deep understanding of the situation. We also ask probing questions to help the presenter identify the tensions, paradoxes, and assumptions in the dilemma. Finally, when it is clear that we have established a shared understanding about what is going on, suggestions are made about what to try next.
- Chalice of Compliments - The Chalice of Compliments is place where teachers can write notes to their coworkers, acknowledging an inspiring effort, skill, attitude or interaction. If you see something, say something!
This Tuesday was our monthly all-staff meeting when our After School program teachers join us for an hour. This week, we learned The Penguin Song - a fantastic song to encourage kids to move when we are outside and distract them from the cold. Makes for a blurry picture, but the smiles still shine through.