Throughout the series I've written about The Innovation School, I have talked about the school from my perspective and what I love about the school. For the last blog of the series, I am going to talk about the school from the perspective of Paige (4) & Sebastian (8).
To get some ideas I sat down and had a conversation with them and asked them what they LOVE about school.
Paige said she loves to paint and make jewelry. Almost every day when I receive the daily report I see pictures of Paige doing what she loves - painting and making jewelry. She comes home every day so proud of her creations. I try to keep some of her bracelets because they are so cute, but she almost always steals them back from me and reminds me that they are hers. They are valuable to her because she made them. Paige also mentioned that she loves recess. She enjoys interacting with all of the students at the school and for some reason, it must be the love and culture at the school, because she also loves to have time with her brother (it’s definitely not like that at home!) Paige also loves to see the class pets Mango and Reece, two guinea pigs that add some additional joy to the class. She had so much fun the day the school took the afternoon to go sledding. She would really like to do that again!
Sebastian also loves to create. He enjoys participating in art and making things at school. I remember when I was in school we had one day of art (on Fridays), otherwise we didn’t do much art because most of our days were focused on the main subjects. I love that the school allows the students to be creative, because Sebastian LOVES it! When he brings his art home, and he always insists that we keep it and hang it up for a while. He also enjoys Science and Math. Getting to play a game on a subject he loves is always something he is interested in doing. One of his absolute favorite things about school is recess and time in the gym. Sebastian loves sports and he is very athletic. So anytime the school or another student makes up a game that involves some sort of physical activity, Sebastian is all in. Sebastian also enjoys Drama Club. Once a year The Innovation School puts on a play in the Spring and Sebastian has participated the last two years in the play. His part has been small but he always enjoys going to the practices and performing the night of the play. He also enjoys the Learning Adventures the school has throughout the year. This year he did some physical activity lessons and learned about the game Risk. He really looks forward to field trips. He enjoys going to the library, Walmart (to shop for project supplies), and visiting places around Bismarck/Mandan area. He also had a great time when we went sledding as a school and is looking forward to the skiing and skating activities that are coming up this Winter that The Innovation School has planned!
Both Sebastian and Paige thrive at The Innovation School. When I asked them about attending a traditional school, neither one of them were interested in making that change. The idea of having to follow a more traditional means of learning is not something either one wants to experience right now. The Innovation School is Sebastian & Paige approved! So, if you have considered The Innovation School, I highly recommend attending their Open House on Thursday, January 26, 2023 from 5pm-6pm to see in person what the school is really like!
There is something special about being a part of a community. When I went to school and reflecting on Sebastian's early years in daycare, we never felt like we were a part of a community. I never realized how impactful being a part of a community would be until we joined The Innovation school. TIS provides a true sense of community that is reminiscent of a second family.
One of the benefits of being a part of a close-knit school community is that bullying is not a part of TIS, and when there is a conflict, it is handled by the students through their student-led "Judiciary Committee.". It is harder to be mean to someone that you know really well. When you know someone well, you look out for and take care of that person. When they need help you help them. It is not a chore and it isn’t difficult. You do it because you care. Being a part of a community, you care about one another. And that is what The Innovation School creates.
I enjoy being able to go to the school and have lunch with my kids and watch them help each other. They help each other get settled for lunch, including helping the youngest students with the microwave and they help with cleaning up and taking care of the lunch space. That's the power of community.
I love to watch the students all play together during recess and be kind to one another throughout the day. I love to watch the older students reading to the younger ones and the younger ones showing off their art projects to the older students.
Last year, the school went skiing at Huff Hills and the parents were welcome to come. I was thrilled to join, since it would be my first time skiing. After learning the process to ski with the help from other students and parents from the school, I attempted the larger hill. I remember falling and being so scared to finish the hill. Other people that were there and not affiliated with the school just skied on by. When all of a sudden another student from the school approached me and asked if I needed help. With them just asking if I needed help, I worked up the courage to finish the hill. That is the amazing part of being a part of this community.
This year for the school's Holiday program they held a Holiday Party. All the families gathered and participated in a potluck and watched our children perform holiday songs. It was nice to gather as a community and get to know one another during this special time of year.
I love our school community and I hope to be a part of it for many years to come!