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Fall Parent Teacher Conferences

October 27, 2021 | Bridget O'Dowd

Habits of Heart, Mind, Learning, and Work

Habits are much on teachers’ minds these days. In education circles there has been much discussion about habits of learning or 21st century skills or neurodevelopmental constructs – these are all ways of considering how to develop the whole child as a learner. At Mustard Seed we review these different ways of approaching learning and have identified our own set of habits that we work to instill in all students; habits which connect with our emphasis on academics and the arts, faith and service.  We identified twenty habits, five each in the areas of heart and mind, learning and work.  These habits are integrated throughout the curriculum and can be developed in three-year-olds as well as fourteen-year-olds.


Each year teachers work with these habits, emphasizing different ones at various grade levels, or ones that connect with a theme or focus of study.  By the time students graduate from Mustard Seed they will have been nurtured in the development of each of these habits, which in turn, will not only affect their academic work as they move on to high school, but will influence their character and life long learning.


During the first six weeks of school the teachers are learning about their students and their approach in the work of learning.  At this point in the year we are most interested in how students are learning as they begin their studies.  If teachers understand the different ways each child learns best or where they may struggle, then teachers are more equipped to teach what students learn throughout the year.


Thursday and Friday many of you will be virtually connecting  with a parent teacher conference.  In this conference the teachers will be reporting to you about how they see your child as a learner in the context of these habits.  The teachers will share with you what they now know about your child, note areas of strength and concern, and propose a few goals for future learning. To help you prepare for the conference and find out more about the twenty habits, you can click on the previous link.

There is a saying that our acts become our habits and our habits are the stuff of which character is made.  It is one of the reasons why we are so intentional even about the little things, such as saying I am sorry or taking only the amount of snack you need.  We know that something as small as a mustard seed can become a great and welcoming presence, our small acts become the seeds for a flourishing life.

Written by Shanna Pargellis, Lower School Director, 2018

Bridget O'Dowd

Ms. O’Dowd came to Mustard Seed in 2017, after moving to Hoboken in 2016. She found a school and a community all in one package at Mustard Seed! Having taught kindergarten in Illinois before moving to New Jersey, Ms. O’Dowd has a passion for five-year-olds. She’s delighted to be a part of the kindergarten team and loves to read and share in story with students. Her favorite moment of the day is during a good read aloud, when she looks out and sees the faces of children showing empathy and emotion in response to the story. Ms. O’Dowd’s hobbies include exploring new neighborhoods, watching BBC documentaries, traveling to visit family, and eating her way through New York City.

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