November 2016 Newsletter

By November 30, 2016Newsletters

Muraho to all of you in our Woodland Star Village!

We hope that you have had a month of positivity, growth, and happiness. We gratefully think of all of the great successes we’ve seen since September, the new families and staff who have joined us, and the rest of this school year in which our story will continue to unfold.

As we wrap up our first term, we trust that the coming weeks will go by with flying colors!

The Power of Arts in Education

Developing our comprehensive arts program has taken a lot of work. Teachers, directors, students, and parents have all contributed to each of the shows we’ve performed at Woodland Star School, working hard to organize plays and memorize lines. Many students spend hours practicing their instruments or perfecting dance routines. And, of course, our fine arts program demands patience, creativity, and focus. With that said, is all this effort worth it? We’d answer with a resounding “Yes!”

Several research studies have proven that art education not only improves quality of learning, but reinforces other academic areas and reaches out to empower children who are artistically inclined. Ultimately, art programs create a more expressive, cohesive, and excellent community. Studies like “Reinvesting in Arts Education” and the 2006 Guggenheim Museum’s research have demonstrated the power of arts in developing the learning process and in improving academic performance. A study by The Center for Arts Education reported that many high school students in the USA didn’t drop out of school due to the impact of their arts programs. The Arts Education Community found that exposure to art in a classroom setting improved children’s standardized test scores and increased social skills. Furthermore, the study “Learning In and Through the Arts” shows that students are not the sole beneficiaries of art; teachers grow in positivity with the implementation of a successful arts program!

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University have even found reason to believe that art education creates and strengthens neurological pathways that support remarkable feats of cognition. For example, music training enables individuals to utilize better the working and long-term memory and develops abilities in geometrical representation. Understanding and remembering dance patterns through observation deeply encourages other cognitive domains. Theatre practice is associated with awareness of words and symbols. Johns Hopkins researchers also found that a greater interest in aesthetics could lead to heightened levels of dopamine in the brain, generating more openness, expression, and societal awareness.

The world of research in education is a vast and dynamic one. At Woodland Star, we are always looking for better and more effective ways to teach. Based off of our research and own professional experience, we believe that an education rich in arts is critical for the growth of any and every child.

For more information, please have a look at these links:
http://www.svpta.org/sites/default/files/ Research%20Arts%20Help%20our%20Brain.pdf
https://www.edutopia.org/arts-music-curriculum-child-development
http://www.onlinecolleges.net/10-salient-studies-on-the-arts-in- education/

TakaTaka Recycling

Our commitment to the environment is one that we take seriously. Naturally, we are proud to announce that TakaTaka Recycling is officially taking over the management and transformation of our garbage. This Nairobi-based business, partnered with various establishments across the “green city in the sun,” has now extended its reach to Tigoni, Kenya.
Not only does TakaTaka Recycling share our passion for the environment, its aim to provide services to institutions of all incomes is an intention we appreciate. We are very grateful to be a part of their ecosystem of renewability. Here’s to a greener planet, one village at a time!

News

Thank you all for your contributions to the WSS Documentary! It really took our booth at Harvest Festival to a new level. We’ll be releasing it online soon, and expect to launch our new website in the near future.

In the meantime, there’s a lot going on before the end of Term One!

A Possibility

As a growing school, we are beginning to address the next stage of our development: a secondary school.

The first two years of Woodland Star, we created a fledging high school of five students. While we weren’t established enough to support a long-term secondary school then, we believe that we have the potential to begin one now. Since 2011, we have grown in ways we could have only imagined. Together, we overcame many obstacles and challenge. With this amazing possibility on our horizon, we think that, as an energetic community, we can achieve the impossible yet again.

As Woodland Star parents, you are invited to a meeting on November 22nd at 3:30 to engage as a community with the potential of a secondary school. Just as Woodland Star was created on the basis of community participation and involvement, we want to seek your input as we consider next steps in moving down this path. Your participation in this meeting in no way obligates you to be involved in future decisions, but rather gives us a chance to hear various viewpoints and take into consideration all questions and concerns. Please email hello@woodlandstarkenya.com with any ideas or topics you are interested in discussing so that we can prepare for a comprehensive and well-balanced meeting.

This is an incredibly exciting opportunity. One of the top questions that prospective parents have is if Woodland Star will ever extend into a high school. This is a question that we ourselves have brainstormed and heart- wondered about recently. We hope that our meeting on November 22nd will clarify the direction that we, as a school and as a community, will decide to take.

A Celebration of Learning

This December, we invite you to our traditional Tea Time concert – renamed as a “Celebration of Learning.” At this particular event, the Middle Years students will be performing S eedfolks, a show about the importance of cultural diversity in a context of community. Early Years and Primary Years students will also captivate our audience through performance.
The Celebration of Learning will be on December 8th at 3:30 pm.

A Surprise

Timo Lehmann, our School Producer, is here! Though he was originally supposed to arrive in January, Mrs. Sjoberg’s maternity
leave provided a welcome reason for him to travel here earlier. While Mrs. Sjoberg is away, Mr. Lehmann will cover the Middle Years STEM classes and begin to work as our on-the-ground School Producer. He is such a vibrant individual, and we are ecstatic to have him at our school.

We would also like to congratulate Mrs. Sjoberg and wish her all the best during her maternity leave! (Although we’re sad to be losing our secret weapon during capture-the-flag.) We’ll definitely celebrate the addition of the newest member of the Woodland Star Village when she returns from her leave!

Follow That Star!

The drama club will present Fo ow That S tar! on December 6th. The entire Woodland Star Village is invited to bring festive holiday desserts to share while enjoying the hard work of the drama club. Fo ow That S tar!, a quirky spinoff of the well-known Christmas story, explores various gift-giving characters including the famous Mr. Claus, a more feminist version of Ms. Claus, the mysterious La Befana, and the irritable Belsnickel. As with all of our shows, we hope that each and every member of our community resonates with the universal themes of our performances in a celebration of diversity and interconnectedness.

In addition to bringing a delicious wintry treat, Fo ow That S tar! provides an opportunity to make donations for our Christmas project. This year, we are hosting a book drive for a local school. Books ranging from illustrated storybooks to classic novels are greatly appreciated!

The 2020 Olympics

Mr. David, our ASA Tae Kwon Do teacher, has been with us since the beginning of Woodland Star. He’s supported many of our students, providing stability and positivity at our school. Outside of Woodland Star, Mr. David empowers under-privileged Kenyan children at his dojo in Limuru. Many of his Kenyan students have become black-belts, and are passionate about their love for Tae Kwon Do.

Woodland Star is a place of grassroots dreams, and Mr. David’s dream is to send the first Kenyan Tae Kwon Do team to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. To do this, he needs a generous amount of support and funding, as with any athletic training of this caliber. As we make donations for our Christmas Project, we would also like to remember Mr. David and his contributions to the local community. We hope that he, and a Kenyan team, will have the opportunity to leave their mark on the history of Tae Kwon Do and the Kenyan hall of fame.

Here is the link to make a donation: https://www.generosity.com/sports-fundraising/itf-taekwon-do-kids-development-fund. Please remember that sharing on social media has the potential to raise publicity!

We are so grateful for the diversity, excellence, and connectedness here at Woodland Star School. Thank you for all you do to be a part of our village. Muraho – we celebrate your presence!

 

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