Deliberate, conscious, rational thought is the key to overriding our defaults. Diversity and Community Engagement Post

Last week, we explored how our brains use mental models (or “defaults”) as shortcuts. This week, we are going to look at how we can get out from under these defaults. Deliberate, conscious, rational thought is the key to overriding our defaults. The problem is that only 2% of our thinking is actually deliberate, conscious, rational thought. TWO PERCENT. The other 98% of our thinking is “default” thinking: it’s fast, unconscious and driven by emotion, instinct, and stereotypes. Why do our brains rely so much on this “default thinking”? Because deliberate, conscious, rational thought is the most glucose-intensive function in …

Mary and Chocolate waddled their way into student’s hearts

Students were visited last week by two lovable ducklings named Mary and Chocolate and three adorable chicks named Snowy, Brownie, and Dark Chocolate Chip. The two-week-old ducks and chicks were circled in love as students created a duckling and chick pen using their legs and bodies so the babies could roam freely among them. Dr. Maria Montessori would be proud, as the students allowed the baby animals to “choose their own work” while they quietly observed. A fellow student (Mae), brought these baby animals into her class from her family farm, where they have 15 chicks and 6 ducklings at …

TNSM students perform Macbeth

Our 6th graders performed an amazing abbreviated version of one of Shakespeare’s masterpieces, Macbeth. While studying the play, their conversations about the characters’ actions, moral challenges and emotions were insightful. The students created a 17-minute version that can be seen below. The students’ performances were taped here on campus. It’s fun to see how our Mitchell Mansion makes such a noble backdrop for the play, as well as the Ginkgo House with its arched doorway and stone steps. The whole show is stylized to look like line drawings in black and white of the characters. It’s really quite remarkable. . …

Walkathon photos and videos

New School Montessori students had a blast as they walked the campus/neighborhood during our Annual Walkathon.The children encouraged each other with cheers and applause as they walked around our beautiful campus during our annual walkathon. The whole day felt charmed against the backdrop of our amazing North Avondale neighborhood with children dancing, playing games and eating pizza after the walk.   .   

How are we raising anti-racist children and preparing the next generation to be justice advocates and changemakers?

 When I’ve invited these conversations with caregivers and educators in my life, diversifying the bookshelf and other media consumption for our children is certainly the number one answer, and is undoubtedly important. Specifically for those less practiced at talking about race, this question leads to more questions and even some fear. What do age-appropriate conversations about race and systemic racism look like for my child? What if I say the wrong thing? In the last week, I’ve listened to this insightful interview with Aiko Bethea (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion expert) and Brené Brown (researcher) on Inclusivity at work: The Head …

TNSM parent Carrie Driehaus with Queen City Pollinator Project gave a presentation on bees to 1st-3rd graders

With Carrie Driehaus as their guide, students tasted honey from the honeycomb and sat back as Carrie told them tales about bee adventures. The story began with sadness as Carrie let the students know that all the bees in our 2 hives were lost this winter to the cold. But luckily, a New School family knew of a swarm of bees in someone’s attic, so Carrie went there and collected that swarm’s queen, moving her to a smaller “transport hive.” In no time, the swarming bees left their spot in the attic and joined their queen in the transport hive …

Curiosity and Belonging – Essay from the Diversity and Community Engagement Committee Corner

Essay written by: TNSM parent and DCE committee member, Claudia López   When I used to be at Miami University, the Center for American and World Cultures, of which I was part, had a Diversity Calendar maintained by yours truly. I visited the Center’s site and couldn’t find anything. It might still exist. I don’t know if I had to dig a bit more deeply. A fast Google search gave me as first result – this calendar –hosted by the Truckee Meadows Community College. Certainly, well-ranked. April is Earth month, Autism Awareness Month, Arab-American Heritage Month, Tartan Heritage Month, and Celebrate …

“…when children come into contact with nature, they reveal their strength.”

Our (9-12) students were thrilled to witness a bird of prey flapping from one gloved hand to another as each 4th grader took turns bravely feeding a morsel to the bird and allowing it to take flight and land from their leather-gloved arm. This experience held particular meaning to our 4th graders who just finished reading the novel, My Side of the Mountain, which features a boy and his peregrine falcon hunting together. The bird brought by the Ohio School of Falconry was a powerful Harris Hawk. Students in 4th-6th grade gathered on the lawn behind their classroom to learn …

Diversity and Community Engagement Post: Learning More about Racial Literacy and Leading into Women’s History Month

Two weeks ago, we had our TNSM community Zoom conversation around Priya Vulchi’s and Winona Guo’s work. These two women spent their senior year of high school exploring what it means to be racially literate. In searching for a piece to start our conversation, we felt like their framing around racial literacy connects to the philosophy here at TNSM and also offers up opportunities for each of us to deepen our efforts and commitment to building a racially literate community.  If you couldn’t attend, or even if you attended and want to reflect more deeply, here is their TEDTalk and …

Preprimary students stitched self portraits

These days, we are often interested in the quick version of self portraits called selfies, but these preprimary New School Montessori students are going “old school” by hand stitching their self portraits. This kind of meticulous work: selecting thread to match their features, threading the needle and directing it through the fabric at the correct spot – all require significant amounts of patience, concentration and hand-eye coordination. Expanding these powers and planning out the steps of their process are all skills that transfer to many other areas of their work as students. Plus, they are having so much fun!   …