Our Mission in the Classroom: A Message from the Head of School, Josh Cobb
Recently, I was fortunate enough to be the first Mystery Reader for Mrs. Demartini’s kindergarten class. From the beginning, I saw students developing both their social-emotional and intellectual skills. Morning meeting begins...
with an acknowledgment of others; in this case, thanks to the suggestion of one young boy, we greeted each other with a series of rapid blinks and “Good morning, [name].” I so appreciate beginning the day with this simple human connection. Then came a discussion of “What rocks about kindergarten?” Each student did their best to consider and answer this question, stimulating their own reflective thinking as well as their classmates’. It turns out, by the way, that math is a big hit in kindergarten.
After this, I read a picture book and asked them if they made any connections to the story, hopefully encouraging even more thinking. In this short visit, I saw their understanding of self, their honoring of others, and their exploration of content. I saw their curiosity and their individuality celebrated. And that was in a 20-minute visit to one classroom. Imagine the social-emotional and intellectual growth throughout the day, throughout the school. It is awe-inspiring.
I wanted more, so I visited Tinker Time, again to see the mission and signature programs in action. Mrs. Rothchild’s kindergarten class came in to the Gates Lab, sat down on the rug and watched the wordless picture book, I Walk with Vanessa. Since there were no words, the students volunteered what they noticed on each page and used these observations to fill in the story of Vanessa, a little girl who is feeling lonely and unwelcomed at school. Quickly, the students recognized that Vanessa is sad and celebrated when one of her classmates helps her. From this lesson in empathy, innovation specialists, Mr. Chavez and Mrs. Leddy, guided the class to draw a picture on a cardboard balloon of how they have or will help someone in need. Once they completed their empathy balloons, they shared what act of kindness they depicted. After using their critical thinking to understand Vanessa’s story, they were inspired to show their own empathy. This class also captured our purpose to cultivate both the intellect and the character of our students.
Though my job relies heavily on words, spoken and written, I am drawn to actions, specifically, the actions of educators on this campus who work so hard to bring our mission alive class to class, student to student. I hope you will visit our campus for a tour to see firsthand Graland’s dedication to developing every student’s intellect and character.
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.