October 19, 2017

Traditions: In with the Old, In with the New

Preschool families enjoying Harvest Celebration 
In the past two weeks, our preschool, elementary, and middle school students all honored a 30-year Friends School tradition of celebrating Harvest and the change of the seasons.

Many of our school’s traditions, that are still such an essential part of our program, began three decades ago in a house on Marine Street just a few blocks west of the Boulder Public Library. It was there in 170 square feet that the first eight children went to school. Our Founders hired a teacher and the magic began.

Our Harvest Celebration was born there, along with our Silver and Gold graduation ceremony, Winter Celebration, and many of the other traditions that are still at the heart of who we are as a school.

Elementary students acting out 'Stone Soup'
In the preschool, teachers told and acted out the story of the Giant Pumpkin and families celebrated together with cider and school-made pumpkin bread.  In the elementary school, I told and helped others act out the story of Stone Soup, and families sat down together to share soup and other foods that all had contributed to.  In the middle school, our newest program, we love taking the best of the old traditions and also creating new:  our 6th and 7th grade students participated in community service, planting garlic and harvesting vegetables at Cure Organic Farm. They used some of the vegetables from the farm to create soup and other dishes to share with their senior partners at the  Brookdale Senior Living Community.

Middle Schoolers sharing a meal together
At all our Harvest Celebrations, we emphasize the importance of community and sharing.

As our school continues to evolve and grow, we keep many of our important traditions initiate new ones, and reshape old ones, just as we always have.

This year, our teachers have made the choice to reshape our traditional Elementary Movin’ & Boppin’ event.  A couple of years ago, we changed this tradition from a fund-raiser to a fitness-and-fun event only.  This year, teachers decided that instead of doing a one day Movin’ and Boppin’ event, they would make each of their team lunches a "Mini Boppin’ ".  Each month PE teacher (and Friends parent) Lindsey Hilliard gives our teachers a fitness-and-fun challenge for their team.   This way, our students will Move & Bop each and every month, rather than just once.  We think it’s an important enhancement!

At Friends School, we believe that a great education is founded in the myriad of life’s meaningful personal experiences and connections. Being part of a community where everyone feels connected significantly enhances learning. Our school is a place where everyone is nurtured and respected for his or her individuality and contributions to the good of the whole. We hold in high esteem rituals and traditions that help children develop self-awareness and understanding of themselves as part of the bigger world.

In our new Middle School, traditions are important and evolving. Our oldest students participate in some of our most cherished traditions, such as Winter Celebration, buddy classes, and the upcoming Halloween costume parade. Traditions help us feel a sense of belonging to our larger community. At a time when middle school students may face pressures to grow up quickly and to think of school as less than a joyful and exciting place, these connections provide a different, more nurturing perspective.

We love our Friends School traditions and celebrations. As Tevye says, “Without our traditions, our lives would be as shaky as... as a fiddler on the roof!" 

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