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October 27, 2020 | 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