A big-picture vision for nurturing innovators in Lower School. Guest post @CliffordShelley #MVPSchool

The letter to parents quoted below came from Mount Vernon Presbyterian School‘s Lower School Division Head, Shelley Clifford. I’m so fortunate that she is my sons’ principal.

Dear Mount Vernon Families,

In the spirit of starting with questions, what do you hope for your child to learn this semester? The Lower School teachers returned on January 6 and reflected upon this question. How might we intentionally use the 94 remaining days of this school year to inspire and encourage our children to pursue their unique passions and gifts? Specifically in the month of January, Lower School will focus on the Mount Vernon Mindset, Innovator.

Innovators explore and experiment in a climate of change. They build resilience through risk-taking and setbacks. Innovators create unique ideas with value and meaning. Kindergartners will practice their empathy and innovation skills by embarking on their first Design Thinking Project. Be sure to ask your Kindergartner about the Gingerbread Challenge. Second graders have already begun exploring the essential question, “How does learning about inventors and inventions affect our outlook on the world and help us be creative thinkers and innovators?”

All students are engaging in visible thinking routines, long-term projects, and discoveries that focus on habits of an innovator. These habits include: starting with questions, engaging in observations, and thriving from collaboration with others.

Regular practice of these skills builds curiosity, so much so we would like to join you in celebrating your child’s sense of wonder as you encourage him or her to observe and experiment at home. Embrace the endless “Why?” questions, and make associations between the strange and the familiar. Finally, collaborate with your learner and encourage him or her to collaborate with other people who may have different perspectives.

If you would like to explore one of our favorite resources on this topic, check out The Innovator’s DNA; here is a link to the book.

Kind regards,

Shelley Clifford

Head of Lower School

[excerpt posted with permission, as guest post]