One of the most beloved GSL traditions is the Gingerbread Man Hunt. Each year, the JK students bake and then search all over campus for the elusive pastry creation. Each day, they would visit a new person or area of school as a way of introducing them to our vast campus and the many people here who help them. GSL graduates near and far can tell you exactly where their class finally found the Gingerbread Man, and I can tell you our faculty and staff enjoy it just as much as the kids.
As a follow up to this feverish hunt, one JK class did a follow up activity that was also informative for the students and the adults. The Playful Pups spent some time this past week revisiting the people and places they had visited while searching for the Gingerbread Man, but this time, they came with questions and looked for information. They interviewed a number of GSL administrators and faculty, and one question was, “What is your favorite thing about your job?” Here are a few of the answers.
- The best part of the job is that I am surrounded by children. It makes me happy, feel young, and I want to be here! It is a happy place to work.
- The best part is meeting great people and visiting in the classrooms!
- I love to visit the classrooms, play with kids, and see the faculty in their rooms.
- The best part is seeing all of the people on campus!
- The best part is getting to see the children.
I’m sure you sense a theme at work here- GSL is filled with faculty and administrators who love working with the children here at GSL and care deeply about their success. Edward Hallowell once wrote in his book, The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, that one of the best predictors of student success and happiness later in life was predicated on the answers to a few key questions. At school, do you have one good friend? Is there an adult at school you trust and you know cares for you? Do you feel welcome? Do you feel treated fairly? At home, do you feel good about your family? Do you feel loved? Do you feel treated fairly? In a longitudinal study of adolescent mental health, the single best predictor of later happiness is feeling connected at home and at school.
We all know that adolescent life is full of ups and downs. Believe me, I would not want to relive my seventh grade year for all the tea in China. But if your child can consistently answer the questions listed above in a positive way, you’re on the right track. I think it’s important to ask them these things periodically. And I believe that at GSL, with a faculty and staff that love working with young people as much as the interview responses show, there is great chance for your child to be connected with a wonderful role model and sympathetic ear. At GSL, we care for the whole child- social, emotional, physical, intellectual, and spiritual.