The dictionary defines ‘Rooted’ as “established deeply and firmly.”

What is deeply established in our school?

As a member of a school community, what does your heart long to see entrenched or ingrained?  The Learn Forward question is, “What matters most?”

This year, we are using this word, ‘Rooted’ as a theme for Willowstone Academy because, amidst the rapid change, we are asking what shouldn’t change from year to year?  What should stay the same because it propels the growth of children?  Some ideas include:

  • rooted in relationships.
  • rooted in learning.
  • rooted in love.
  • rooted in faith.
  • rooted in rest.
  • rooted in play.

Could everything else change?  Could we take risks and innovate around the curriculum, the assessment and reporting, our approach to deep learning?  Then, is it more comfortable when the timetable, the technology, or the teachers change?

In our Learn Forward model, children are always growing and changing.  They are on five remarkable journeys to understand and realize their extraordinary potential: faith, worthiness, selfhood, belonging, and changemaking.  But, what is at the roots?

I am studying intensively with Dr. Gordon Neufeld to learn about how to make sense of children’s growth and development.  In other words, what is essential for a child to realize his or her extraordinary potential?

Rooted in Love

It is almost as if, like Saint Paul, Dr. Neufeld prays for us to “rooted and established in love” (Eph 3:17).  Neufeld teaches about the panacea for all childhood struggles and the ultimate solution to helping children realize their potential:  connection.  It isn’t just a casual connection, like those found in the neighbourhood or on the subway, it is the connection led by adults to offer children a generous invitation.  Even if the child is grumpy, or over-stimulated, or aggressive, or compliant, or afraid, or responsible, or rude, the child needs to feel our acceptance, love, and connection.

It’s difficult.  Even as I write this, I can hear a young child’s screams throughout the neighbourhood.  We need to support each other.

Our arms open wide to our children…

Like a big, burly, bear hug…

Being held…

Photo by Tina Bo on Unsplash

At School

So, when school begins each day, we are holding our doors, arms, hearts open wide to our students and families.  Daily, we want you to feel warmly welcomed however you are arriving.  At the door, we will catch your eye and smile; it is a generous invitation to come just as you are.

For the sake of the children,


P.S.  Join us for our fall blog series to explore “Rooted!” by subscribing today.