Have you ever visited a place and felt like your heart was meant to be there?
This week I was in Miami for the ShiftinEDU conference. I feel really lucky that my Building Learning Communities (BLC) friend, Inge invited me to be a speaker. Before the conference began, I got to visit the school responsible for creating and hosting ShiftinEDU.
St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School sits in the middle of Coconut Grove, surrounded by yummy places to eat and shops that have loads of interesting Florida-y clothes. The first feeling I got in my heart for St. Stephen's was that it hummed happy.
The minute I walked through the front gate it was like the school hugged me. At the morning ceremony, I got my first glimpse of the students and teachers at St. Stephen's. It was almost as if they decided to dress with LivBit in mind. Normally they wear uniforms, but today they dressed as their favorite book characters. There were loads of kids in Harry Potter garb, several Pinkalicious fans, some Piggy and Elephants, but NOTHING topped the kindergartner dressed as Captain Underpants! I just knew the day was going to be incredibly special with such an EPIC beginning!
St. Stephen’s has a very inspiring motto: think, love, grow. As I visited and worked with the kids, I thought about how much MY love for learning and understanding the world was growing. It’s like my time at St. Stephen's perfectly reflected the school’s motto.
The kids at St. Stephen’s are encouraged to take risks in their thinking and learning; support each other’s ideas; use technology in interesting and innovative ways; and value each other’s differences. I noticed older kids supporting younger students with compassion. I saw so much happy at this school it made me want to stay forever.
My time in Miami made me wishful for ALL kids.
Kids need teachers who encourage them to grow interests and passions. Kids deserve time to use technology to create and connect with people who can help them think deeply about their interests. Kids depend on grown ups who understand the power of digital spaces and encourage them to be connected. Kids need to know they are safe to be who they are meant to be and every bit of who they are as a person is valued. Most of all, kids deserve to learn in spaces that are safe, joyful, and welcoming.
Kids can’t think, love, grow in joyless places. ALL schools should hum happy.
So, think about your school community. Does it hum happy? What do people feel when they enter your building? Is it a joyful learning place?
I hope this blog inspires you to take action and become an agent of happiness! Kids NEED you to hum happy! I hope you join me in this happiness campaign! Let’s help ALL kids think, love, grow.
Thank you to my friends at St. Stephen's Episcopal Day School in Miami, FL for helping my heart see how powerful happiness is to the world. If I could have stayed with you forever, I would have! And, a very special danke je to #MyDutchTeacher, Inge for believing in my LivBit work. Ik heb je lief!
Keep reading! Keep thinking! And, thank you for following LivBits!