After establishing a solid Continuous Learning routine, Brookwood School felt it was important to take its mission of developing the whole child one step further by looking beyond solely focusing on academics. On Wednesday, April 22, Lower School began their weekly Specials Day and Middle School had their first Community Day.
The idea came about from research and collaboration with other schools. School Counselor Allison Harrell elaborated, “I am part of several counselor groups, and we are constantly sharing ideas and problem solving together. Many independent schools are changing the weekly schedule to give students and teachers a chance to catch their breath. We wanted to provide ‘fun’ and ‘social’ parts of the day as much as we can while we are apart.”
Lower School launched their Specials Day where students have the opportunity to participate in optional enrichment courses. Students enjoyed subjects they have not been able to engage in since the campus closure, including library, art, music, Spanish, and PE. “As an art teacher during Continuous Learning, I have focused on creating bridges with kids at home through innovating with materials and technology,” commented Kate Brown, who is the Lower School art teacher. “We’ve made art with natural materials outside, objects in the house, and with art materials on hand at home. We’ve found ways to support the community through the Coloring Contest with Thomasville History Center/Visitors Center/Center for the Arts, and with the Archbold Superheroes project sending drawings and letters of good wishes to our healthcare workers.”
“The goal of our Specials Days is to provide opportunities for our students to reconnect and engage with the enrichment teachers in a fun, low-stress format,” said Jennifer Necombe, Lower School Director. “Everyone is working very hard, and I am so very proud of our Lower School. Many of our students had a wonderful time singing songs with Mr. Landeta that they learned together this school year, coloring with Mrs. Brown, and playing games in Spanish with Mrs. Garzon.”
Specials Days will take place for Lower School students every Wednesday until the end of the school year.
Middle School held their first Community Day in celebration of Earth Day. This provided an opportunity for students to meet with their advisor, participate in activities, and interact socially as a group. In order for the students to embrace a day free of academic assignments, they chose an outdoor activity. They submitted photos to their advisors showing off their hard work.
Middle School Director Sam Caudill explained, "It was a day to pause, reflect on our work, and review how we could adjust to make our work more productive for the students."
Diya Choksi ‘25 went on an Earth Day scavenger hunt in her backyard with her family. She said, “I enjoyed spending time with my family, getting ahead on my schoolwork, and enjoying the outdoors.”
Another Community Day is scheduled for May 6, which coincides with National Nurses Day.
“I am so thankful that we have been able to provide some sort of normalcy to the school year with Continuous Learning,” said Harrell. “Our teachers have done an outstanding job of continuing to educate our students in a whole new way. With Community Days and Specials Days, we are really working to get students up, outside, and change up the routine to give them the brain break they need.”
Despite the changes brought on by COVID-19 and Continuous Learning, Brookwood remains committed to the mission of whole-child development. Lower School Specials Days and Middle School Community Days are allowing opportunities to focus on the needs of the students beyond just academics. The Upper School also held a Catch Up day, similar to the Middle School Community Day, May 1.