- Published on Friday, 12 February 2010 18:56
Awakening Empathy in Early Childhood
Oak Grove School's Blog - Children wish to be treated fairly and they have problems with perceived unfairness. They have effusive and unrestrained capacity for expressing both hurt and compassion, and they enjoy the calm of equity and collaboration. Read the full story..
The 2012 Day of Reading Concludes
This year, students raised funds for a long-dreamed about Pavilion performance upgrade - A newly constructed seating area for ample room and dramatically improved sight lines, a back wall, 14 new stage lights, microphones, and updated electrical support... all to improve the overall experience for every Pavilion guest. We are sincerely grateful for everyone who made this effort a success. Click here to view photos from the event.
Revolutionary Minds - The Classroom Atmosphere
Krishnamurti's vision of education centers on inquiry and self-awareness. These qualities arise through the cultivation of a highly perceptive state of mind, one that is fearless in exploration, both inwardly and outwardly. Read the next chapter of Revolutionary Minds - The Classroom Atmosphere - on our Blog. Click here.
To Simply Attend
On Wednesday, February 21st, Oak Grove School held its annual Fundraising Breakfast Tea. The theme of this year's event was To Simply Attend. What does it mean to truly attend to something, to make every part of yourself aware of something else, or just to truly perceive what is around you? And, how does that practice of attention fundamentally change how we see, feel, and act... how does it change our world? Click here to visit Oak Grove's Blog to hear from alumni, parents, and staff from this year's event.
Oak Grove After school Classes Begin in October
Music, dance, science, German, and more... Oak Grove After school classes begin in October. Click here for more information and to register.
Oak Grove School continues its popular Summer Adventures with an amazing trip to the Cottonwood Lakes in the John Muir Wilderness. We spent 6 days exploring the area, swimming in the lakes and taking in the breathtaking High Sierra vistas. 5:00 am sunrise hikes, crystal-clear lakes, moon rises over Cirque Peak, and glimpses of native Golden Trout made this trip truly unforgettable. See route information and photographs here.
This Week at Oak Grove Dec 5-11
Click here to view The Week at Oak Grove, Dec 5 - 11
The Art of Living and Learning video
This Week at Oak Grove Oct 31 - Nov 6
Click here to view The Week at Oak Grove, Oct 31 - Nov 6
After Care Biking Classes 2010
After School Bicycle Class with Kelly Pasco from Project Ride begins November 3. View full details in the PDF below.
After School Mountain-Biking with Kelly Pasco from Project Ride also starts November 3. View full details in the PDF below.
This Week At Oak Grove Oct 24-30
Click here to view The Week at Oak Grove, Oct 24-30.
Oak Grove Weekend!
What an eventful weekend at Oak Grove! Friday 10/22 was an Art and Music Party for the secondary school and their friends and families, Saturday 10/23 was the Harvest Party - a night to remember, and Sunday 10/24 the Equestrian Team prepared for their upcoming events. See photos and video from the weekend on Oak Grove's Facebook page.
This Week at Oak Grove October 18-23
Click here to view the October 18-23 The Week at Oak Grove email
Click here to view the latest photos and video from our Facebook page.
After School Classes - Science with Jim Bailey
High-Flying Physics (ages 11-14)
Chemistry Magic (ages 9 and up)
Foundation Focus September 2010
Download the September 2010 copy of Foundation Focus, published by the Krishnamurti Foundation of America.
Join Oak Grove School on Facebook!
This month Oak Grove School launched its Facebook Fan Page and within 24 hours we had over 200 fans!
Facebook is a great way to stay in touch with all the wonderful happenings at Oak Grove School so if you are not already a fan, become one today!
ECP Parents & Friends Work Party
Kindergarten Playground Gets an Upgrade!
The Kindergarten had a very successful work day the other Saturday. It became an ECP supported project with additional help from the Pre-school 2-day, 3-day and 5-day classes, as well as Dass' husband Pete, Vashti's husband Mike, Jodi's husband Kevin and Meredy's husband Dennis. OGS Developmet Director Jodi made delicious coffee cake and Juanita prepared a wonderful array of salads, appetizers, pizza and drinks. Our ECP teachers also supported our efforts - Vashti, Darinka, Dass and Marga. This was truly a community event, and served as a reminder of what a wonderful community we are so fortunate to be a part of!
This project would not have been possible without the generous donations from Mike and Michelle Murray-Nelson, Jen Armetta, Randy and Kasia Leavitt and Dines and Lila Francese. Oak Grove funded the sand and Rei from Maintenance and his crew did all the incredible preliminary work.
We are thrilled to report as of early February the sand has been delivered, and we are looking forward to our last work day and completing this project for our kids to enjoy! This has been set for Saturday February 13th from 9:00 until 12:00 pm. Our children are so excited to try out this new equipment made possible by the generosity of our community members -both in work and spirit! Thank you to everyone involved and most especially to Beth and Greg Lyons who have spear headed the effort above and beyond expectations.
Oak Grove Students Celebrate Peace Week
Vertically grouped into their “Lizard Groups,” students from 1st through 12th grade donned their hand-dyed tees and headed for the Pavilion on Monday, October 21st, to celebrate International Peace Day.
Vertically grouped into their “Lizard Groups,” students from 1st through 12th grade donned their hand-dyed tees and headed for the Pavilion on Monday, October 21st, to celebrate International Peace Day. Early Childhood students, including Kindergarten, tie-dyed special multi-colored tees to indicate that they were on EVERYBODY’s team! The celebration began with the whole school coming together, in silence, and considering how observing a moment of silence was like planting a seed of peace. Then we sang peace songs led by Adrienne and Rory, with instrumental accompaniment provided by high school students. Throughout the morning, Lizard Groups moved from station to station enjoying various activities around the theme of peace — from making peace jewelry to walking silently through a labyrinth — and ending at the “peace tree” where students had hung their ribbons of peace (you can still see these if you visit the garden). We ended our morning as we had begun — in silence — inviting each other to keep planting those seeds of peace…
During Peace Week, kids in the Early Child hood program explored what’s the same and what’s different among classmates — their eye color and shape, their feet and hands, their skin color and hair texture, their size and abilities. “My eyes are black.” “Mine are kind of brownish-blackish.” “I can climb really tall trees.” “Me, too, and I can build a line of paperclips as long as me!” As children group and re-group themselves with others, they begin to appreciate differences as well as the bonds they share. Empathy grows, and we begin to build a peaceful community in the classroom. When asked, “What makes you feel peaceful?” one preschooler commented: “I feel peaceful whenever I’m alone and everything’s quiet. Just the sound of the wind.”
During Peace Week, students in grades 1–3 were steeped in peace curriculum activities. First grade teacher Alanna told the story of the great peace maker Hiawatha and how he helped bring peace to the Native Indian nations. Third grade teacher Alice read a Chumash creation myth and had students make gifts for the world using clay. Second grade teacher Carole taught about I-Messages and reminded students that it is one of the strategies to use from the Wheel of Choice. The Wheel of Choice is used by all three grades to help students find solutions to their conflicts. Alanna also taught students how to make and use Peace Bridges. Now we have Peace Bridges available to use in the classrooms, playground and at the Peace Table on the first and second grade deck.
During Peace Week, 4th through 6th grade students headed up to the Ojai Foundation for a rich experience of camping, participating in Council, and enjoying trust games where we learned about ourselves and others. Showing tremendous resilience by responding to an unbelievable heat wave, students were propelled down to Bates beach with the OF presenters for an all-day beach experience. Students created mythological creatures with their very own unique environments made out of sand and seaweed and other beach materials. They happily returned home on Thursday, grateful for cool showers! Friday wrapped up our week with writing reflections, picture sharing and an overall sense of gratitude for our friends, school and community.
Following the all-school Peace Day ac tivity, the secondary students and staff got on a big yellow bus for a week of beach camping at El Capitan State Beach. With a focus on building connections at the secondary level, students in grades 7–12 engaged in many activities together throughout the week.
In addition to prepping and cooking dinner, cleaning up after meals and starting the evening’s fire, the students chose from a variety of options offered by the staff each afternoon. Teachers led groups in kayaking (a few lucky students found themselves amongst a dolphin pod!), surfing, hiking, henna body-painting, geo-caching, reading quietly in the campsite, and making music on the beach. Each evening groups of students presented fireside performances which ranged from skits to charades and an open mic night. The week was an amazing time for the students and ended with a big “giving back” by doing an all-campground cleanup. Fun!
Remarks by Meredy Benson Rice, Head of School at Back to School Night
Missed Back to School night? Or just want a recap? Here's the play-by-play.
Good evening and welcome…and thank you for coming out this evening.
As I think most of you know by now, my name is Meredy and as Head of School it has been my great pleasure in these first days of school to visit each class and meet over 200 children…Oak Grove Lizards big and small…some of the most delightful young people anyone would want under their care – so let me begin by thanking you, parents, for entrusting your children to us. I know we are all going to have a wonderful year.
Tonight you will have a chance to hear about upcoming events and ways that you can support Oak Grove School over the course of this next year and hopefully for years to come. You’ll also have an opportunity to check in with your child’s teachers in the classrooms. Our teachers, as I’m sure you know, are our greatest treasure here at Oak Grove and they are out there among you so I’d like to ask our faculty to please stand and identify yourselves.
I’d also like to draw your attention to some other important people you will want to be sure to recognize – our program directors: Adrienne Hoskins Muller, Director of Early Childhood Programs; Megan Bybee, Director of Elementary Programs, and Willem Zwart, Director of Secondary Programs – could you three please stand? These wonderful teacher/administrators are your go-to people should your questions reach beyond your child’s homeroom teacher or Class Advisor.
Finally, if you are parents of a child in K through 6, I’m sure you’ve heard the word that we have launched a wonderful After School Program this year that the kids are loving. Jeanette Berkovitz, Director of After School Program will be at the tables at the end to offer information and answer questions.
Continuing our commitment from last year to creating a caring community, once again, we ask all of you, as we also ask each other, and your children, to be mindful of the Communication Protocols outlined in the Parent/Student Handbook. And by the way, we really do ask that you read this!
It is truly a pleasure to be part of a community that has as one of its highest aims a commitment to open-minded communication. So as adults in the community, let us seek to be mindful in how we model communication for our children. How we speak, how we listen, how we attempt to reach understanding. Let’s ask questions, fact find, clarify when we “hear” things that concern or upset us. Let’s model our willingness to talk directly to one another when we have a concern or a problem. And let us encourage our children to do the same.
The language of our focus or theme this year is “connectedness” or “connections”. In the same way we explored last year questions around what it means to “care”… this year, we hope to explore questions around what it means to “connect”.
How are we connected to each other? How are we connected to this community of Oak Grove School? How is Oak Grove School connected to the larger community of Ojai? How are we connected to the world?
Already, this exploration, which began this summer with our faculty, has resulted in some wonderful new directions for the school. For example, in an effort to deepen our connections with the community of Ojai, we are reaching out to form mutually beneficial partnerships with other non-profits such as Ojai Foundation, Help of Ojai, Theater 150, and Ojai Youth Foundation.
We hope to broaden and deepen our community to “service” both on-campus and off-campus. Internally, we are working to strengthen the connections between grade levels. We are a small school, and as such, it is important that we get to know each other VERTICALLY as well as HORIZONTALLY.
So we are building on the tremendous success of last year’s All School Field Day to create more opportunities for vertical groupings – Lizard Groups – where all our students from Early Childhood to High School have an opportunity to interact and get to know one another. Some of you may have heard from your children today what fun we had dying our Lizard Group tee-shirts together this morning!
We plan to do more mini-groupings of grades; for example, during Peace Week (which you will hear more about from the teachers) our Secondary School – 7th through 12th – will be camping in the same vicinity so they can do some activities together. Our 4th, 5th, and 6th graders will be spending time together at the Ojai Foundation, and our Early Childhood through 3rd grade students will be participating in activities together here on campus.
We hope to group parent meetings together more frequently so you as parents get to know the parents on either side of your particular grade level. Tonight, for example, I encourage you to look around and see that this is OUR community…YOUR community…and in the spirit of connection, I hope you will reach out to parents both within the class of your child and also parents outside of that class. Another aspect of connection that I would like to speak to is our connection with our parent organization the Krishnamurti Foundation of America. At the end of my first year in this position, I am delighted to report that on both sides of the organization, we have made tremendous progress in “connecting” and by that I mean, working seamlessly together for the benefit of the whole. Please make sure you visit the table tonight that has information on KFA activities, Pine Cottage and The Pepper Tree Retreat. Troy Sumrall was appointed Chief Operations Officer at the end of last year and he has worked tirelessly to forge a strong working connection between the KFA and OGS. In addition, several new KFA trustees have been appointed, specifically with this strengthening toward the school in mind.
For example, Karen Hesli, former Director of OGS, as well as Leone Webster, parent of two OGS alums and long-standing supporter of OGS have been appointed to both the KFA Board and the OGS Board. Leone had hoped to be here tonight to speak but was unfortunately called away at the last minute. However, on her behalf, I would like to say that her presence as both a full KFA Trustee plus her new role as Chair of the Oak Grove School Board will create a “connection” at the governance level of the school that will truly make a difference.
Finally, in the spirit of “connections”, prior to beginning school we sat down together – Admissions, Development, Parent Forum, and Faculty – to see how we can connect and thereby leverage our school events for the benefit of the whole school and the outcome of these “connections” is very exciting…
Mark your calendars for Saturday November 7th when we will launch our first All School Showcase and Open House – where current students can showcase to their family and friends the wonderful work they do in the classroom, where we can invite our special friends and grandparents to share, and where we can open our doors to the public so prospective families can take a peek at who we are and why this is such a wonderful school to be part of.
We are a small school and as such we are challenged and stretched to meet our mission with limited resources. Personally, I think it is an exciting and wonderful challenge. Because it is not through the “bells and whistles” of plenty or excess that we thrive but through our connections and our commitment to each other that our school is sustained.
If it takes a village, we will be that village by connecting. We have the most wonderful school: what we jokingly refer to as “the best non-competitive school in the valley”. Primarily, its wonderfulness is derived from the beautiful children you entrust to our care – so thank you again for them.