Odyssey Day School Recognized for Inclusion Efforts

Designated ‘Mix It Up’ Model School by the Southern Poverty Law Center

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Teaching Tolerance program has named Odyssey Day School as a Mix It Up Model School for its exemplary efforts to foster respect and understanding among its students and throughout its campus during the 2016-17 school year.

Odyssey Day School is among 76 schools to receive the honor.

“We commend Odyssey for finding innovative ways to create environments where respect and inclusiveness are core values,” said Teaching Tolerance Director Maureen Costello. “Though Model Schools vary in size and demographics, they all serve as great examples of how a school—any school—can cultivate these values among their students, faculty and staff.”

The Teaching Tolerance program has hosted Mix It Up at Lunch Day for the past 15 years to help students demonstrate the importance of respecting each other’s differences. The 2017 event will be held on October 31.

Mix It Up at Lunch Day is a simple call to action. By asking students to move out of their comfort zones and connect with someone new over lunch, the event encourages students to identify, question and cross social boundaries. Many schools plan activities for the entire day, and some use the event to kick off yearlong explorations of social divisions.

The Mix It Up Model Schools met five criteria: They each hosted a Mix it Up at Lunch Day during the 2016-17 school year; they included different members of the school’s community—cafeteria staff, aides, administrators, teachers and students—in organizing the event; they followed up with at least two additional Mix It Up-related programs or events on campus; they publicized Mix It Up at Lunch Day or celebrated inclusiveness with posters, announcements and other media; and their event was seen by students and school officials as a success.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Montgomery, Ala., is a nonprofit civil rights organization that combats bigotry and discrimination through litigation, education and advocacy.  For more information, see www.splcenter.org.

 

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Odyssey Day School invites you to their Science Week Ice Cream Social!

Thursday, March 23rd, 6-8 pm

Science activities for the entire family! Ice cream!

An info session about the 2017-2018 school year will be held at 7 pm.

We hope to see you all there!!

International Week Open House

Thursday, January 26th

630-8 pm

Each year, students at Odyssey celebrate International Week.  The school comes alive as each classroom, infant through 8th grade, is transformed into a different country.  What a wonderful time to visit and learn more about what we have to offer!  We welcome current students, and families interested in our amazing program, to come celebrate how diverse our world is!  Activities are appropriate for every age and an information session about the 2017-2018 school year will be held.  Imagine if your student could celebrate learning in a challenging, loving environment.  We hope to see you there!

• We offer Spanish, music and art.

• Before and after school care.

• No standardized tests.

• Education for gifted children.

If this date doesn’t work for you, please call us to schedule a tour.

Odyssey Day School
2 Audubon Road
Wakefield, MA 01880

781-245-6050

Join us for STEAMfest 2017 Open House on January 11th from 6:30-8pm!

STEAMfest is a celebration of hands-on science and art. Come connect a circuit, learn to solder, create mathematical art or whip up some kitchen chemistry. Take on an engineering challenge with household materials. Make the word science an action verb! Activities will be designed by experienced teachers and are appropriate for scientists ages 4-12.

At Odyssey we feel that our hands-on experiential approach to education is the best for any topic, but where we really shine is in our approach to STEAM.

Most people have heard of STEM- it has become a popular buzzword in education as parents and educators see how important science and technology are in the adult work world.

STEAM goes one step further by adding an additional critical element of creativity found with art. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math.

In traditional education models the students are taught classes in each of these subjects in isolation from other subjects as though they are in silos. The student is given information and often asked to memorize it out of context and unrelated to the real world.

Imagine taking these same subjects and teaching them in an integrated model that is much more close to how studies show children–all people– retain information. Make the learning of information interesting, engaging and fun and students will retain and build upon it.

For example: Want to learn about geometry? Great –build a patio! Want to learn about chemistry? Bake a cake from scratch!

One of the best examples of how Odyssey embraces STEAM curriculum is our 3-4 grade study of Ancient Egypt. Over the course of a few months, while using Ancient Egypt as the backdrop, students mummify apples, participate in role-play games that teach an understanding of Ancient Egypt’s social hierarchy, build model pyramids, write stories in hieroglyphics, and play a rousing game of Senet. The unit culminates in a banquet to crown a new Pharaoh for which students have written a speech in hieroglyphics, decorated ancient jugs and pottery, researched and made a close approximation of food served at that time and more!

Giving students the opportunity to explore, experiment, design, problem-solve, discover and learn across the curriculum-in an interconnected way- while making mistakes and revisiting their own methods is much closer to what actual scientists do.

This is STEAM!

STEAM connects easily for us with our theme-based curriculum. Not only do we create curriculum that integrates subjects in service of understanding a bigger picture, but we also provide opportunities throughout the week for kids to get creative on their own.

Our students who are involved in makerspaces, construction challenges, and programming, are deeply engaged in what they are doing. We know this engagement will help sustain a student’s interest in science and engineering into the future. That interest is critical as the United States has lagged behind many other countries in graduates entering science and technology fields. In addition, when students are immersed in discovery across the curriculum they acquire a deeper more meaningful understanding of content.

“STEAM represents a paradigm shift from traditional education philosophy, based on standardized test scores, to a modern ideal which focuses on valuing the learning process as much as the results. In essence, we dare our students to be wrong, to try multiple ideas, listen to alternate opinions and create a knowledge base that is applicable to real life as opposed to simply an exam.”
Deron Cameron
Former UPES Principal – US’s 1st STEAM Certified School
Current TCSS Curriculum Coordinator

 


Why would I choose Odyssey when my public elementary school is right down the street?

An Odyssey education is fundamentally different than public school. Thanks to high-stakes testing, elementary school, from Kindergarten on up, has become a largely seat-work driven experience. But hands-on academics, recess, outdoor time, and imaginative play are crucial components of high-quality Kindergarten. This is what’s currently missing from the average public school classroom.

At Odyssey, we preserve the joy in reading and math.
Our Kindergarten class has manipulatives to use for math, in keeping with how children naturally develop number sense. We also have a dedicated hands-on math program. Our Elementary Classrooms are a print rich environment where reading and literacy takes place across the curriculum with a blend of whole language and phonological awareness activities. Our shelves are stocked with books related to the classroom theme. Our reading buddy program pairs older and younger elementary students to provide peer role models who love books and reading.

Our students get recess, outdoor time, and freedom of movement.
Recess allows children to interact with each other, and improves physical fitness. Many schools have very short recess periods so that more time can be spent in the classroom. In fact, recess enhances time spent in the classroom by enhancing attention and creating calm. At Odyssey, Kindergarteners have at least a half hour of dedicated recess time outdoors in our natural playspace – more for full day Kindergarteners and older elementary students. Twice a month our students head to the woods at Breakheart for a more in-depth outdoor experience with a Naturalist.
Even in the classroom, we are more tolerant of the normal movement of children. In an Odyssey Kindergarten classroom some children will stand at tables instead of sitting, and you may even see a wiggle or two. The focus is on the work at hand not on the position of the workers.

At Odyssey, there is still a dramatic play area in the Kindergarten classroom.
The disappearance of imaginative play is one of the largest differences between an academic Kindergarten classroom and a developmentally appropriate Kindergarten classroom. In an Odyssey classroom you will see a dramatic play area which changes in accordance with the classroom theme. At this age, imaginative play is critical for intellectual, emotional and social development. It is through this play that children begin to develop the creativity and collaboration which are key 21st century skills.

We recommend that when you evaluate Kindergartens, you ask these questions yourself:
• How much time is spent at a desk?
• How much time is spent outside?
• Are there opportunities to develop social skills through recess and imaginative play?

Once you understand how important these answers are to your child’s development, you’ll understand the Odyssey difference.

Learn more about our Elementary program HERE.