Crane School Blog: Focus on Learning

Featuring articles written by Crane Staffulty

For more information about Crane Country Day School, please contact admission@craneschool.org or call 805-969-7732 x127.

Article on Origami
Mary Lee Wren

When not teaching the fourth grade class at Crane Country Day School, Stephanie Bagish can be found traversing the globe, often returning to her favorite Bali beach, Buddhist temple or Japanese garden.  So when her class was charged with the task of incorporating Crane’s 90th anniversary into the curriculum, Bagish’s mind drifted overseas to the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo where a beautiful exhibit of origami art was etched in her memory.  “Origami represents longevity, peace and harmony,” Bagish said.  “It’s an art form that originated hundreds of years ago and was used in Buddhist ceremonies, given as gifts by Samurai warriors and used in religious celebrations. It seemed fitting to commemorate Crane’s milestone.”


When not teaching the fourth grade class at Crane Country Day School, Stephanie Bagish can be found traversing the globe, often returning to her favorite Bali beach, Buddhist temple or Japanese garden.  So when her class was charged with the task of incorporating Crane’s 90th anniversary into the curriculum, Bagish’s mind drifted overseas to the Ghibli Museum in Tokyo where a beautiful exhibit of origami art was etched in her memory.  “Origami represents longevity, peace and harmony,” Bagish said.  “It’s an art form that originated hundreds of years ago and was used in Buddhist ceremonies, given as gifts by Samurai warriors and used in religious celebrations. It seemed fitting to commemorate Crane’s milestone.”
 
Bagish said the best part of her class project was the fact that it was student-led. Her vision of origami crane birds — a literal association with the school — floating across the water came to life thanks to two of her fourth grade students knowledgeable in the fine art of folding.  The students led their classmates in a step-by-step instruction and everyone was successful, ultimately crafting 90 crane birds.  The crane symbolizes healing which is particularly appropriate for the Montecito independent school that saw many families affected by last year’s fire and debris flows.
 
For Richard Downey, Crane’s math teacher for grades six through eight, the 90th curriculum was a numbers project. His students were tasked with figuring out the density of people per square foot, to represent the number 90 in human figures on the field.  “We first sketched the numerals 9 and 0 in block letters on graph paper,” he said. “Then we had students from Lower and Upper School stand closely together on my classroom carpet to determine the number of students per square yard.”  The goal was to make the numerals look solid from the air, as a drone would photograph them. Once the dimensions were determined and the numbers outlined in chalk on the field, many were skeptical the entire school would fit into such a small space.  “Yet, the calculations proved accurate and our 300 students and adult employees formed a densely packed 90 that was clearly recognizable,” he said.
 
Meanwhile, in the second-grade class of Karen Ohrn, students considered how present-day Crane is similar to the Crane of 1928. What they found: Kindness remains at the core.  The three original guiding principles of the school were: be kind, do your work, be respectful. Ohrn gave students an opportunity to modernize this sentiment.  Inspired by the quote, “In a world where you can be anything … be kind,” students were asked what else they would be.  “Our class created a poster and a song, talking about all the things they would be in the world, and we found that most were related to being kind,” she said. “If you’re helpful, that’s kindness; if you’re inclusive, that’s kindness.”   And, after doing the project — though she could have told you earlier — “Kindness is alive and well” on the Crane campus nine decades after its beginnings.
 
The school will officially celebrate its 90th year in May, with an all-alumni reunion on May 3 and a formal gala May 4. For more information about the festivities or to register as an alumnus/alumna, contact Anne Perkins at aperkins@craneschool.org.
 
For admissions information or to schedule a tour, contact Erin Guerra, 969-7732, ext. 106.
 
— Ann Pieramici for Crane Country Day.
 

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