Crane Country Day School Established 1928

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.

TheresaGoreyExperientialJourney
Theresa Gorey

n 2004, Elizabeth Del Negro and I took ten teens to Oaxaca for a service-based cross-cultural adventure. Now adults with families of their own, one became a documentary filmmaker, another a banker focused on micro-loans for indigenous communities in Mexico and Central America, and one a lawyer who specializes in immigration rights. They launched meaningful lives, making choices in their professions that mirrored the inner selves they built in part by our experiential education journey...

In 2004, Elizabeth Del Negro and I took ten teens to Oaxaca for a service-based cross-cultural adventure. Now adults with families of their own, one became a documentary filmmaker, another a banker focused on micro-loans for indigenous communities in Mexico and Central America, and one a lawyer who specializes in immigration rights. They launched meaningful lives, making choices in their professions that mirrored the inner selves they built in part by our experiential education journey.

No textbook can communicate hunger like the experience of holding a hungry child in your arms. Our students held hungry children in their arms. They fed, read to, played with, and learned from a center filled with beautiful Triqui and Loxicha children. Throughout the experience, our students knew they’d deal with physical and emotional discomfort, including facing their own unconscious biases and the entitlement some had from skin color and socio-economic position. It was beautiful to observe them embracing these growing pains, and growing from them.

They questioned. They became more vibrantly curious about the world. They worked together supportively. They learned to see how much they did not yet know. We watched them shift and bloom, humbled and moved by the sheer beauty, artistry, perseverance, and humanity of the children and families we connected with in Oaxaca.  

In their free time, they gratefully explored the stunning depth and diversity of mainstream Mexican culture: its history, music, art, literature, dance, food, and people. Two keys for this kind of journey: you need some free time just to wander and discover. You also need reflection time. From both, powerful learning is born.

There is so much that can only be learned outside a classroom, in the greater landscapes of life. Experiential, service-based learning opportunities offer us the most meaningful segment of education one can receive. We forget facts we learn from a book or information we hear in classrooms. We recognize something unforgettable about others and ourselves, however, when we explore and deeply interact with the world itself.

Theresa Gorey
Lower School Learning Specialist

Most Recent Posts

 Focus on Learning-Logos Pathos Ethos

Crane's seventh grade English students found out that the simple question, "What is your favorite sandwich?" isn't actually as simple as they had originally believed. Little did they know that this question would lead them to the theory of persuasion and the study of Aristotle's three modes - logos, ethos, and pathos.

As English teacher Mrs. Lombardi shared with seventh grade parents, "Understanding how to persuade others and also how one is persuaded by others are both important tools to have in one's kit"...

Its just middle school photo

This image is prominently displayed on our seventh grade dean’s website. It’s a bit of comic relief to combat the bad rap that the middle school years get. And it is a perfect example of one of the goals of the new Grade Level Dean program in the Upper School (sixth-eighth grades) at Crane School - to add an element of fun to the social lives of middle school students.

The Grade Level Dean program focuses on the social aspect of the middle school experience at Crane. As a school we are constantly assessing what changes we can make...

Focus on Learning Gratitude

While gratitude may be a buzzword, especially in the month of November, we believe it is much more than a popular hashtag (#grateful) or a fleeting trend. Gratitude is a powerful tool that has proven to positively affect individuals and communities.

In an article titled, What is Gratitude and Why Is It So Important? from positivepsychology.com, Courtney E. Ackerman, MSc states, “Effectively gratitude can create social networks and help individuals work towards goals and challenges, and overall, simply have stronger coping skills for life’s hardships.”

At Crane it has been inspiring and heart-warming to see students of all ages learning the independent practice of gratitude...

Blog Image: How was your day?

In the past seven months, most parents have been more involved in their children’s academic lives than ever before. We know what sight words they have been working on, what the all-school art project is, and who presented in the Friday assembly video.

However, as Crane School students in all nine grades now have the option to learn on campus, the majority of parents are once again receiving less information about the day-to-day activities both in the classroom and on the playground.

We have all asked the question and gotten the dreaded answer. You know the one. Parents enthusiastically ask, “How was your day!?!” The response is an annoyed or indifferent, “Fine,” “Okay,” or possibly just an undecipherable grunt...