It’s not spring yet, but Reggio Emilia is blossoming at Elmwood Franklin. I invite all parents to join Sarah Duddy and me for a conversation on the future of the Reggio Emilia program in Prep at EFS. Choose from two sessions: Tuesday, April 29 at 8:30 a.m. or Wednesday, April 30 at 5:30 p.m. Both will take place in the library. In preparation for our discussion, please read “The Hundred Languages of Children,” a short piece of writing by Loris Malaguzzi, a founder of the infant toddler nursery school program of Reggio Emilia, Italy. A copy is included as part of this letter.
“Here’s the truth: academic rigor—which is important—is not a sufficient condition for success in life.” Those are perhaps surprising words coming from a renowned educator. Dr. Keith Frome appeared as part of the EFS Parent Council Speaker Series on February 13, speaking about the hits and misses of the school reform movement and what the kindergarten to eighth grade educational model has to show the world. Excellence in academics, while a worthwhile objective, is not the sole determinant in students’ achievement in life, he contended. There is something else—something less intellectual and decidedly more human—that is the main driver of success.
Do you know that Elmwood Franklin has the only official young maker club in Buffalo? Do you know that it will be a featured presenter at Buffalo’s first maker faire in March? Do you even know what a maker is?
Physical education is as much about fitness as it is about sports. So while the basketball team is practicing in the gym, some seventh and eighth graders take the opportunity to travel over to Terrie’s Workout Center on Hertel Avenue for a ten-week session of all kinds of fitness activities, from spinning to yoga, strength training, cardio, boxing and more.
Does Googling count as research? Well, yes, but not necessarily very good research. As eighth graders take on the IDEA project, a long-term research project new to the curriculum this year, they are engaging in advanced research—consulting not just the regular school references, but primary sources, expert interviews, specialized databases, and academic journals. To get started, the entire eighth grade spent a morning in January at Buffalo’s central library, getting trained in the use of the library’s online database and heading underground to the massive staff-only closed stacks.
Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech is one of the most important and impressive pieces of oratory in United States history. In honor of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, an all-school assembly was held on January 14. Highlights included a collaborative reading of the famous speech in full by eighth grade students, who rose in turn from their seats interspersed throughout the theatre.
The Board of Trustees of Elmwood Franklin School has many important responsibilities: supporting and promoting the school’s mission; setting institutional policies; articulating strategic priorities; ensuring financial strength; evaluating annually board performance; and, as trust holders, providing leadership and vision to ensure the school’s sustainability. In supporting these goals, the Board has another significant responsibility: the selection, support, nurture, and evaluation of the person who will serve as the head of school. When a transition in school leadership occurs, it must be carefully and thoughtfully handled. It is not too much to say that this is the single most important act a board undertakes, for it impacts every aspect of the school’s future.
As EFS begins to incorporate the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education through our new Beginners program for three-year-olds—and looks to expand it throughout the Prep division—teachers and administrators have been holding a series of professional development sessions afterschool to learn more about this highly regarded educational philosophy for young children that emphasizes the role of play in learning.