Jess Torbin and Annie Youngman are our new Co-Chairs of the Parent Council. Learn more about our parent council and why Jess and Annie are inspired to volunteer at Friends.Read More
by Friends School mom and local trauma therapist, Lauren Hassan, LCSW
Many thanks to Friends School mom and trauma therapist, Lauren Hassan, LCSW, who met with our staff last week to provide tools and resources to navigate these challenging times. Lauren shares her experience as this week’s guest blogger.
I recently had the pleasure of spending some time with our incredible teachers and staff at Friends School. We addressed what it means to be living in trauma and how to actively and purposefully cultivate resilience. And how to do this while being both present in our bodies and with each other. Our time together was a little bit of everything.
As a trauma therapist, I have been working in a microcosm of this pandemic. Sitting with individuals and feeling the depths of their experience through the unique lens of each life that sits with me on my screen. We dive deep into pain, we connect in vulnerability, we rebound in connecting to resources and resilience, often times we laugh and then we do it again the next week. This work is profound. I am privileged, humbled and honored to be invited into peoples’ worlds in this way.
Yet, there is a part of me that feels connected to something so much bigger as I think of all the shared pain, loss and fear; all who are sacrificing during this time. Each day I take the kids to school and pick them up, I find myself moved by the commitment our community is making. All of us! How can we truly support and show up for this community from within. From our core sense of self, reaching each individual who so passionately commits to our families and our children. I invite you to consider the same. Not just for our Friends School community, but for all communities in your life…family, friends, groups you are a part of, others in need. What could this look like if we all put our whole hearts into loving and showing up for each other?
Resilience. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but when we do this, when we give, even if we feel we have nothing to give, we expand our capacity to cultivate resilience. And with that, I leave this letter here for our incredible teachers and staff.
Dear teachers and all staff… all who work tirelessly to keep our school running,
You continue to show up in ways that you did not choose or necessarily sign up for. What you are enduring now, was likely far from your radar when you chose to engage in this line of work. You are being asked to establish safety for our community and our children and in that, to monitor behavior and circumstances that require hypervigilance every single day. Your roles have been renegotiated. How you connect and work as a team has been redefined. How you adapt is requiring intense flexibility and rigidity all at once. You are not only having to work with your own emotional needs and livelihoods, but you are supporting our children in theirs and identifying how to relate to and work with parents who likely all have a unique reaction to how everything is being handled. All while still teaching…still educating our children in their whole sense of self.
Oh and let’s please not forget, you all were heroes before this pandemic entered our lives. Committing to our children and our families through incredible skill, knowledge, collaboration, and empathic care. I said this when I first invited you to join me – you are warriors. Warriors who will forever be imprinted in the maps of our lives and in the narrative of our stories. We are forever grateful.
With all my love,
Learn more about Lauren and her work at laurenhassan.com.Read More
by Lucy Goldstein, Pre-K Parent at Friends School
Last week as a Pre-K west volunteer parent, I wrote a note of appreciation to the teachers for the month of September. To my surprise, they asked if I would share my thoughts with all of you. It was a note to say thank you, particularly as Harvest Week arrives because there is so much for which we can be grateful. Most importantly, the school has made it through September and part of October without a hitch! At least that is how the teachers, staff and administrators have made it seem from our side of the fence when we drop off our children. And while I do not see all of the labor that goes into keeping the school doors open, the teachers and staff have done a wonderful job of thinking outside of the box, continuing to be positive, and providing all of us an in-person school experience despite the personal hardships everyone is taking on. And that’s where my thoughts turn more serious too.
Every day while our children go to school, our whole country is still experiencing such unprecedented loss: loss of lives, loss of jobs, loss of the way we used to do things, loss of in-person schooling for the majority of our country’s children, loss of the simple things like being together unencumbered by worries of contagion, and on a macro level, loss of honest and dignified political leadership at the highest of levels and in every branch of government. Indeed, with each new week of news and an election around the corner, our spirits are being asked to re-examine who we are as a country. What should health, justice and equality look like for ourselves and those different from ourselves? At the same time, I also have an unextinguished hope that we will, as a more unified people, prevail. That with this degree of disruption and pain, the soil of our humanity is being tilled, and from that, new growth will occur.
Part of this new growth is, I believe, apparent in the way Friends School guides each child. Despite COVID-19, the injustice to black lives, RBGs death, fire ashes falling in the air as I write, our teachers still show up every day with a big smile, upbeat voice, and open arms engaging children in the most important of human skills: curiosity, presence, joy, learning to listen – not just to others, but to their own bodies and the elements around them, asking deep questions about kindness and what it looks like, giving children healthy language to play together and apart, teaching them to balance acceptance of others with self-advocacy. In truth, these are the most essential tools for us as humans because they help develop wisdom and compassion. They teach our children that despite our differences, each human and the nature around us has value – no matter where we are born, and no matter what color, gender or religion. And that is the real heart of the matter, making sure the next generation honors each other in a more thoughtful way than many of our current societal structures demonstrate.
In light of Harvest Week, I am grateful for the intention Friends School brings to every child. We are so fortunate to have such a caring and intelligent school community. And, on behalf of all of the parents, thank you, Friends, for a wonderful September and October in such challenging times. May we continue to reap the harvest of the teachers’ and staff’s thoughtful labor.
We love hearing stories about the ways our students are spending their time away from the remote classroom. This week, guest blogger and Friends School mom Chelsea Flagg, describes some of the amazing performances her three daughters have been putting on the last couple months from home. We’re excited to attend one of their Sunday afternoon plays.Read More
Friends School parent Jody Castrillon is a Registered Nurse at Children’s Hospital Colorado. We recently caught up with her to get the lowdown on what her experience has been on the frontlines of children’s healthcare locally right now. We thank Jody for blogging with us, and for her impactful work!Read More
There are so many amazing things happening all around Friends School. Our 4 division directors recently shared the highlights in preschool, elementary, middle school and the Teacher Preparation Program.Read More
Parents of Friends preschoolers know that their children are learning at one of Boulder’s best preschools. What’s often a surprise for them, however, is the added parent education they receive from our amazing preschool team.Read More
Meet Mindy Mullins, a busy Friends School mom of three kids, former trustee, veterinarian, parent council leader and a volunteer who pitches in whenever she sees a job that needs to be done. We’re in awe of her energy level and thankful for the time she dedicates to Friends School.Read More