Crofton House School
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Croftonian Crumbs

Croftonian Crumbs was the title of the first edition of the spontaneous and playful school publication, started by Miss Ellen Bryan in 1954. Similar to how today's blogs offer writers a creative and casual space, Croftonian Crumbs originally provided CHS girls an opportunity to put pen to paper without the constraints of a conventional format. We are pleased to revive the spirit of Croftonian Crumbs, in its 21st century digital edition.

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Whole Girl, Whole World: Amanda Lang and The Beauty of Discomfort

By Jody Harris, Communications Chair, Parents' Auxiliary

Amanda Lang, Bloomberg TV anchor and bestselling author of The Beauty of Discomfort, brought her timely message of embracing the discomfort of change to a packed house at Crofton House School. As part of Crofton House School’s and the Parents’ Auxiliary’s Whole Girl Whole World speaker series, Lang spoke about how fear of failure and a reluctance to innovate can cripple not just our children’s chances for success, but society at large. She argued that for the first time in history, the generation that follows ours might not be as successful, but that it doesn’t have to be that way. To avoid this, we must allow our children to be creative, nurture their curiosity, and teach them how to embrace the power of discomfort.

Curiosity and creativity, Lang argues, are what drive innovation and change, but from an early age we discourage our children from adopting these traits. Parents often treat the endless questions of a toddler as irritating, beginning a cycle of negative feedback children receive about curiosity. Then they head to school, where inquisitive students are often seen as disruptive, creative students as more difficult. Universities don’t do much better, Lang feels. Ultimately, our children become adults and move into the business world, which can be largely process driven, demanding uniformity for the sake of efficiency. And then we wonder as a society why we are lagging behind other countries in terms of innovation.

There are solutions, however, to relearn how to embrace change and discomfort. The first, Lang says, is simply in recognizing the value of creative thought and encouraging it rather than stifling it.  Answer your children’s questions; urge them to ask more, to get some wrong, to be creative, and maybe to fail. Another tool is mindfulness. It’s a popular concept right now that many business leaders have adopted. It works because it involves being curious about what you are feeling. Being aware of discomfort robs it of its power. Gratitude is another powerful tool in embracing discomfort. By refocusing our minds on the positive, we rob the negative of its power over us.

Lastly, we can become more methodical. Lang highlighted the story of Canadian-born NBA player Tristan Thompson, one she also uses in her book, as an example of how to make real-life changes. Well into a very successful career as a professional basketball player, Thompson decided to change the way he threw the ball by methodically breaking down his throw into smaller, more manageable pieces and making adjustments at a miniscule level. The effort could have backfired; instead the result was improved performance.  

For our children, Lang argues, it is vitally important that we teach them how to be more resilient and adaptable. As part of a generation seeing change happen at an unrelenting pace, they need to learn to how to problem solve and be creative. This they can only do if they learn how to embrace the beauty of discomfort.

Posted by Stephanie Chow on Friday October 13 at 02:50PM
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Interactive Discoveries

Posted by Stephanie Chow on Friday October 13 at 02:49PM
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Courage and Fun

Posted by Stephanie Chow on Friday September 29 at 03:38PM
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Welcome Back!

Posted by Stephanie Chow on Friday September 15 at 01:38PM
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A Prime Year

Posted by Stephanie Chow on Friday June 16 at 02:38PM
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What To Do With a Box

The Junior School, JK – grade 6, participated in a critical and creative design challenge. Through the lens of empathy, the students brainstormed, analyzed, ideated, and created a design for a box that would help someone or something. They then reflected on their work and design, named it, and set out to share and view the empathy boxes created by other students. This is a student-made video about the process.
Posted by Stephanie Chow on Friday June 16 at 02:38PM
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On Being Canadian

This year marks two important milestones in Canadian history. In April 2017, Canada commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, the World War I battle that historians generally consider to represent Canada's "coming of age" as an independent nation state; and on the July 1, we will celebrate the nation's sesquicentennial - or the 150th Anniversary of Confederation. This milestone warrants both celebration and critical reflection. Canada's history is a history of growth, achievement and opportunity but also a history of division, exclusion and marginalization. Our understanding of what it means to be Canadian continues to evolve, and the process of building that understanding is guided as much by questions as it is by answers. 

Students at Crofton House learn about Canada, both past and present, in a variety of courses. The overall aim in Social Studies courses is that by engaging with the historical and contemporary topics and issues that have shaped, and continue to shape Canada and its role in the world, students will gain a better understanding of the nation in which they live. Students examine the social, political, economic and environmental questions that are a part of the public discourse; and they develop an awareness of what it means to become informed, engaged and active citizens. 

This year, students in Social Studies 8 and 11 used the occasion of the 150th Anniversary of Confederation to consider what it means to be Canadian by exploring two hundred "Faces of Canada".

Grade 8 students used texts and discussions to broaden their own understanding of what they value about Canada. They photographed themselves with a description of who they themselves are as Canadians.

Grade 11 students researched notable Canadians from the twentieth century and considered their respective contributions to, or impact on, Canada. All the faces of Canada were used to create a collage in the shape of the Canadian landmass. The hope is that students' engagement with the mosaic of Canadian faces will give them occasion not only to celebrate achievements and reflect on past wrongs, but also to begin to understand what it will mean to be Canadian in the next 150 years.

By Christina Cuk, Department Head, Social Studies, Senior School


 

Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation is a valuable opportunity to recognize the deep connection of diverse cultures and the long history of First Nations as well as immigrants from all over the world. To honour this occasion and to better understand what it means to be a proud Canadian, the Mandarin 10 and Mandarin 11a classes worked on their final projects this year reflecting upon their family heritage and community diversity. 

Mandarin 10: “My Family’s Journey to Vancouver”

The Mandarin 10 class worked on a project titled “My Family’s Journey to Vancouver”. Students were asked to prepare an introduction of their family history including where their ancestors came from, why they came to Canada, and what they did after arriving in Canada. They were encouraged to interview their family members and ask for photos or artefacts and items of cultural significance to display in class. They created a world map to trace their ancestors’ footpaths to Vancouver.

The inquiry-based final assignment helped students understand their family history better, and appreciate the struggles and hardships early immigrants experienced as well as their contributions to Canada. They gained a new perspective on what it means to be a proud Canadian at a time when Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday.

As one student reflected after the final assignment:
“After discovering all the reasons why my family, as well as others, have immigrated to Canada, it makes me feel proud to be a citizen of this wonderful country. I am glad my grandparents immigrated to Vancouver, or I would have never been able to experience living in one of the most beautiful countries in the world."

 

Mandarin 11a: “Our Community: Past and Present”

The Mandarin 11a class, consisting of many descendants of Chinese immigrants, focused on the history of Chinese immigration to Canada. The students visited  the Wallace B. Chung and Madeline H. Chung Collection at UBC and learned about early Chinese immigration through viewing rare and unique cultural artefacts on display. They did research on four historical periods involving milestone events such as the Fraser River Gold Rush, the Canadian Pacific railway construction, the Head Tax, and WWII. Then each student wrote a piece from the perspective of a Chinese immigrant and role-played interactively with their audience, recreating the life at that time. 

Both classes also watched an excerpt from Cedar and Bamboo, a documentary that tells the stories of interactions between Chinese immigrants and First Nations people, which adds a seldom-explored dimension of cultural hybridity to the immigrant story. 

By Ping Li, Teacher, Languages, Senior School

Posted by Stephanie Chow on Friday June 16 at 02:38PM
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The Journey Towards Citizenship

By Susan Hutchison, Director, Junior School

My grandmother established the origin of my beliefs about citizenship. She often said that “the hands and hearts of many are even more powerful than our own”! It is taking me a lifetime to really try to understand what she meant and how it can translate into citizenship. Interdependence is central to the growth of citizenship.

How many times have we heard that children must be independent to establish confidence and enjoy success in life? Educators often consider independence as the culmination of personal development.  However, we need to extend the paradigm to a state of interdependence where children begin to realize that they are a connected and significant part of the network of their family, community, and ultimately the world. My own world view inspires me to consider that through our connected relationships we can create success and wellbeing for everyone. Full citizenship is a commitment to making a difference in the world and taking responsibility for the environment. It’s all about learning to stretch beyond the self and realize that we are part of the other. Independence is the launching point from which students can begin to think of themselves as capable of decision making and being self-sufficient.  

How do we promote healthy independence which will finally lead to interdependence? Independence is a building block to interdependence. Children develop independence and a sense of personal responsibility within the context of a predictable home and school life. They count on consistent routines and caring adults to allow them to feel safe in the world around them. It takes a long time to achieve independence and children move fluidly between dependence and independence based on situations, the task, and their own emotional state. Independence is an attitude embracing courage, determination, and perseverance. It is a deep understanding of personal possibilities.

  • Expand freedom to make choices for your students
  • Exploration and curiosity about the world are markers of growing independence
  • Self-understanding is an important key to independence. Let your students be the judge of their own limits and desires
  • Develop resiliency by allowing mistakes, disappointments, and confusion
  • Resist the urge to rescue, instead, guide or coach through difficult situations
  • Most importantly, help students to establish personal competence and autonomy. Realizing one’s own ability is a powerful signpost on the road to independence
  • What do we do if we hear the phrase, “I can’t”? Provide support and ideas and break large, insurmountable tasks into small achievable steps
  • Finally, we will recognize independence! It will be accompanied by “I can do it myself”.

Interdependence is the genesis of citizenship. How do we move students beyond the insistent, “I can do it myself” stage, to the more open approach of an interconnected world which sounds more like, “I may need you, and you may need me to to accomplish this task. We can do it together”. It’s all about developing positive, respectful relationships with an overarching curiosity and empathy for others. To work towards a productive society, we must learn to connect with others to achieve shared objectives. It is extremely unlikely that one individual working in isolation will be able to accomplish or know everything necessary in the future.

  • Teach the skills of successful group interactions
  • Embrace service projects to develop a sensitivity for others
  • Identify the strengths in others which may compensate for our personal deficiencies
  • Ask for help. It is a sign of feeling connected with others. Teach the habits of productively asking for help
  • Become a superb role model for interdependence by demonstrating a willingness to access the skills and strengths of others
  • Point out how an individual decision can affect the wellbeing of the larger community
  • Take time in the school day to be outside. Interdependence with the environment is created through meaningful and memorable outdoor experiences
  • Finally, adopt an interdependent world view. Interdependence demands a deep understanding that our personal decisions affect the outcomes of the many.
Interdependence is the gateway to full citizenship. It allows us to be part of a group without being overly domineering or submitting as a follower to peer pressure. It helps people to look beyond the personality of individuals to become changemakers in their communities. We realize that our shared humanity is central to a positive future. Successful teams harness the strength of each individual in an interdependent process. In the journey toward citizenship and interdependence, students learn that reaching out their arms while being open for a mutual embrace are fundamental aspects of a future with hope and promise for all.
Posted by Stephanie Chow on Friday June 2 at 02:46PM
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A Time of Celebration

Posted by Stephanie Chow on Friday June 2 at 02:46PM
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Our Values Part IV

Posted by Stephanie Chow on Friday June 2 at 02:46PM
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