The Salmon's Journey- What Lies Ahead

Last week, our first and second graders invited me along on their field trip to Fauntleroy Park where our students released the young salmon they have been nurturing into the creek. Along with teachers, parents and some local expert volunteers, I spent part of a splendid morning in the woods and trails of the nearby park participating and reflecting.

We transported approximately 140 fry (a term I have recently learned as a newcomer to the Pacific Northwest!) to the side of the stream. Every student took a turn releasing one fish from a small cup into the running water and, as they did so, they were encouraged to wish the salmon well along its journey to the sea. I love this ritual and it got me thinking about all the upcoming transitions that naturally happen in the life of our students.

Next month, our 8th graders will walk across the stage and on into high school. Our pre-Kindergartners will take the big stairs into Kindergarten, and our 4th graders will be spending the day upstairs in middle school, savoring a taste of what lies ahead.

At every grade, our teachers have nurtured these young people at a level that's just right for them and they have prepared them for the next stage of the journey. And that's what I love about being part of a school community that focuses on developmentally appropriate practice. We are not pushing too far or too fast, but we know with confidence that we have prepared them well, and they will be ready for the new challenges and opportunities that lie downstream.

Our 8th graders haven't yet experienced the hustle and bustle of a much larger high school, but they have the tools they need to succeed. Our pre- Kindergartners have not yet been asked to perform tasks that now come easily to Kindergartners, however, they are primed and ready to try and to learn.

Just as the young fish don't know the course of what lies ahead, we can be assured that they've got what it takes to reach the ocean – and of course to return upstream. And that's what we hope too. That as each grade passes on to the next level, they won't forget the people and the places that helped them grow and gave them the skills and the confidence to go out into the world. Our graduates will always be welcomed back and we can't wait to see how they will have grown.

Soon enough, we will wish them well on the next part of the journey.

Steve de Beer
Head of School