Sunday, April 1, 2012

Thank-you to the Gullstads

The Ladysmith Elementary School has been given a wonderful gift to enrich the lives and the education of children with the wonderful donation by Carol and Wayne Gullstad, former residents of Ladysmith now living in Seattle. The fund is intended to give students access to resources and experiences they would not otherwise have in their normal school routine.
As I read the article in the paper, I was very pleased to find that Karen Ek would be on the committee that would make decisions about how to use the funds that will become available. Karen has had a long term, long lasting effect upon the development of the whole child in our school district. Along with others having a similar philosophy, I have participated and observed three generation of young people growing up in an arts enriched culture. This is the legacy of the wisdom of teachers like Karen Ek.
However, I have also observed that this philosophy and belief in teaching the whole child is seriously at risk when our beloved teachers are continually faced with having their job security measured by the standards of No Child Left Behind. If teachers are afraid to leave the classroom and scheduled, dictated curriculum in order to enrich children’s lives with experiences inside and outside of the classroom, the intended benefits of the Gullstad’s gift will not be realized.
I recall a meeting with two very special parents of a gifted preschool aged little girl. They wanted the best for her education and wanted her to skip preschool and go to kindergarten a year early. They knew, as I knew, that very bright children are able to learn cognitive tasks earlier than their peers and schools do a serious disservice to these children when we do not provide experiences that support their innate gifts. Whether through the meeting with the school team that assessed the child or whether it was a result of their own wisdom, they chose enrichment over skipping preschool. I think that is the philosophy and the intended use of the enrichment fund. Whether children are innately gifted or academically average, enriching activities in and out of school are the most important thing schools can do in educating the whole child.

(tune: Frere Jacques)

It is springtime
It is springtime
Flowers grow
Flowers grow
Sometimes it is windy
Sometimes it is raining
It is spring
It is spring.

Sign language for spring, flowers, windy, raining.
Carolyn Lichty, SLP

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