Nancy’s Note 05/18/2022

Nancy’s Notes: Building Up to September

This week has been inspiring. Watching students share their learning with parents during Student-Led Conferences makes my heart swell. Monday, unprompted, an SK boy asked me, “Nancy, why doesn’t The Mabin School have more grades? People love The Mabin School and it only goes to Grade 6. Why can’t it go further?”

This week the “Mabin Magic” was on full display, and it was easy to see why this little boy wanted the experience to last longer. But we are JK-6 on purpose – as a JK-6 school, we can make decisions rooted in what’s best for children. We do not have to change our priorities based on the needs of a middle or high school, we do not have to abandon play, or think too much about university preparation. Instead, we can be in the moment and cherish what is happening right now – the discoveries that our students are making as they grow and develop into empathic, resilient learners.

“Don’t worry,” I replied. “When the students get to the end of Grade 6, they are ready to go out into the world. You will be ready too.” Years of goal-setting, reflecting, articulating who they are as learners prepare our students to do well wherever they go next. And when it is time to go they are ready.

By the time our students reach Grade 6, they are what Gerry Mabin, our founder, called “fully baked.” In the primary years, we set the foundation, adding the metaphorical “ingredients” for a beautiful loaf of bread. Students need Grade 3 and 4 to “rise” to fully integrate the skills and Habits of Mind that will turn them into the exceptional leaders they will become in Grades 5 and 6. As a JK-6 school, we are able to provide our students with unparalleled leadership opportunities at a young age. They emerge as delightful and well-rounded as a delicious loaf of bread, fresh out of the oven.

We are JK-6 on purpose, just as we have only 150 students on purpose. 150 is Dunbar’s number, and apparently humans can only effectively maintain 150 relationships at once. Now that different classes are starting to integrate, the power of vertical relationships (i.e. younger students and older students) becomes clear. We can feel cohesion and community growing as we start to move out of COVID and closer to moving back to 50 Poplar Plains Rd.

We are on track to being back “home” on Poplar Plains Rd. in September. The building continues to progress, and last week the glass arrived, and the external walls of the addition began to go up. It is so exciting to see the new facility taking shape, especially knowing that our numbers will not rise, but we will have more space to collaborate, create, and build knowledge in the newest part of our building, the Community Learning Lab.

Thursday’s Mabin Day festivities will be a true celebration of how far we have come as a school – both figuratively and literally! As we parade up Bedford Rd., along Davenport and up Poplar Plains, our students and staff will get a glimpse of what is coming in September as they march towards the new building on their way to Hydro Park. We encourage you to join us on the walk from Taddle Creek to Hydro Park. We will gather for an assembly at 2:45 p.m. with our founder, Gerry Mabin, and start our journey at 3:00 pm, a collaboratively created sculpture in tow. It’s sure to be a spectacular event, and we look forward to seeing you there. This will be our first gathering of the whole community in person in over 2 years, and it will feel so good to be “Together Again” – for a short while on Thursday, and permanently come September.