Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change & Kiel School

Blog Action Day #BAD09Today, October 15, 2009 is Blog Action Day, a global event that thousands of bloggers from around the world participate in by blogging about the same topic on the same day. The theme this year is Climate Change. As big a topic as Climate Change is, it has relevance to us here in Kinnelon, NJ and for our children. In fact, the first image that came to mind when I considered this year's Blog Action Day topic was the "Go Green" Musical Extravaganza that the First Graders at Kiel School put on this past May 28th, 2009.

That thought led me to spending some time with Pat Hart, the Principal of Kinnelon's Kiel and Sisco Schools, who graciously shared with me the vision and thinking that guides our children's education and molds their appreciation for the larger world we live in.

For those of you who didn't attend the "Go Green" event, the children sang songs that ranged from "This land is your land," to "What do you do with a water waster" [to the tune of one of my favorite sea chanties], "Help our earth," the "Recycle Rap," and "The earth is ours and we do care."

Go Green Kiel School 2009 ExtravaganzaAnother tradition that has the children thinking globally is creating at the beginning of every school year Pinwheels for Peace...

But, as Pat Hart explained to me, in order for these programs to be meaningful to the children, they have to go one step further. And that's where the teachers and the school comes in: offering the kids tools to figure out how to be a part of the solution to our problems -- including the really big ones like Climate Change.

In fact, for the 2009-2010 school year at Kiel and Sisco, Pat has introduced a new theme. It's titled "We Honor the Greatness in You - Building Character, Builder Leaders" and although it replaces the "Knock Your Socks Off" theme, it builds off of its accomplishments.

"We Honor the Greatness in You" looks to celebrate the greatness and nurture the leader within each of our children. It's modeled on Stephen R. Covey's "The 7 Habits Tree" and provides a framework for children to learn early on how to build confidence in themselves and use problem-solving tools to not get frustrated and rather figure out how to be part of solutions. It helps them understand ethical behavior, how to adapt to change and encourages them to learn personal responsibility, productivity, self-direction, people skills and social responsibility. I wish I had had the benefit of such a program at my daughter's age...

7 Habits Character PosterAlthough I trust that my child will receive the very best education available at Kiel School, I had little appreciation until I spoke with Mrs. Hart for the level of sophisticated data-driven analysis that goes into the insights guiding character building in our educational program. Kiel School conducts what Pat refers to as "Climate Surveys" on a yearly basis and from these is able to pinpoint areas of opportunity.

I know we'll hear more and I'm looking forward to watching my child as her character develops.

In the meantime, for this Blog Action Day 2009 about Climate Change, I leave you with "A Promise To Our Earth" from "Go Green":

The Earth is my home.
I promise to keep it healthy and beautiful.
I will love the land, the air,
the water, and all living creatures.
I will be a defender of my planet.
United with friends,
I will save the Earth!

Happy Blog Action Day 2009!

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