I have always believed that all children are born with a great deal of natural curiosity, and one of the most important, and joyful, jobs for parents and schools is to feed that curiosity as children grow and develop. For those of us who enjoy campfires or wood-burning fires in our homes during these very chilly months, I think of our jobs as taking the small beginnings of a fire and continuing to stoke it with just the right fuel at various moments to create a strong and durable source of power, warmth, and beauty.
At The Ellis School, we think carefully about those forms of intellectual fuel. What skills do our emerging readers need to help them become fully independent, fluid readers who will always love to immerse themselves in books? What do our algebra students need to learn to not only not only become facile at factoring algebraic expressions, but to understand how that can help them solve elegant and complex problems? What research experiences should we give our Upper School students so they develop the tools, content mastery, and confidence with discourse that guarantees they will be ready for—and excited by—college-level research work? Our faculty love thinking about the arc of skills, content, and experiences that our students need throughout their years at Ellis, and how best to provide those throughout our program.
I always tell people that one of the most distinctive and impressive qualities of our students is the real intellectual spark they possess and how much our students feed that in each other. One of my great joys is sitting in on classes in all three divisions. Whether it’s watching our third-grade students tussle with an abstract math problem, hearing our fifth-grade students puzzle over the symbolism in the art of the Ancient Greeks, or observing our juniors debate the motivations for Abraham Lincoln’s war policies, Ellis girls’ brains are on fire!