The Lotus School of Liberal Arts Helping Kids Get To School

Helping Students Get to School

Here & Now‘s Robin Young talks to a therapist and a clinical social worker about why some students refuse school and what some schools are doing to help. At The Lotus School, we can be flexible and creative to help our students stay in school. “When (school) resources are allocated in a way that is built on flexibility, creativity and really strong parent-school partnerships, you can see the momentum start to build. For example, having a greeter at the school, making it feel like a welcoming environment for that child…

The Lotus School of Liberal Arts

Service Learning at The St. Luke’s United Church of Christ

Every year the students at The Lotus School of Liberal Arts assist the good folks at the St. Luke’s United Church of Christ, in Ottsville, PA, with their annual Rummage and Bake Sale. We help the other volunteers unload donated goods onto large trailers for transport to the sale site, then unload at the destination. The students see that communities have to work hard to remain vital, and sometimes need outside help. Students practice working as a team outside of school, which reflects back to our community practices at school. The sale is located at the building at the intersection…

Last Chance Ranch Animal Rescue

Students and faculty from The Lotus School volunteered at Last Chance Ranch Animal Rescue, a public volunteer, non-profit (501c3) organization, during a mild, beautiful morning last month. Thanks to Lotus faculty member Brad for organizing this service trip to help maintain the property that rescues and rehabilitates horses and domestic companion animals. LCR is located on 35 beautiful acres in Upper Bucks County. Their facility includes a nine-stall barn, indoor riding arena, many pastures with run-in sheds, a fifteen-run kennel, small animal room, grooming suite, surgical suite and several meeting rooms that can be used for educational programs…

Strategies for Teaching Realistic Optimism

A recent article in Edutopia talks about the role of educators in teaching realistic optimism. Realistic optimists see the path to success as full of twists and turns. Consequently, they are not risk-averse. Teaching students about optimism can help them see unpleasant events as learning opportunities. The term negativity bias refers to a human brain’s responsiveness to negative, unpleasant events. At the end of a school day, if a teacher is focused on the one instance that didn’t go so well, compared with the many events that did go well, they…

The Lotus School of Liberal Arts

Small-School Benefits

New evidence that small schools work A new study reminds us that only a few years ago, reducing the number of total students in a school was seen as a key weapon in the arsenal of urban school reform. This reminder suggests that perhaps small schools shouldn’t have been so quickly abandoned as a reform strategy.   In 2010, MDRC, a nonpartisan, New York-based research group, found that New York City students who attended small high schools were more likely to graduate than their counterparts who didn’t attend small schools….

The Lotus School of Liberal Arts Open House

Can a Jar Full of Glitter Help Teens with Mindfulness?

In this recent article from The New York Times there’s a discussion on how the use of a snow globe or “mindfulness jar,” constructed from a household jar and glitter, can help teens weather emotional storms. A glitter jar provides a reminder to anyone who is feeling stressed to be patient with themselves and be confident that emotions often rise, swirl and settle all by themselves.  Watching glitter settle isn’t the only solution to teenage meltdowns, but it’s a good first response. At The Lotus School’s upcoming Open House on April…

Creating Empathy and Reducing Anxiety with Project Based Learning

In the article Parenting: "Teaching kids empathy can reduce anxiety, bullying" Mohsin Hamid, award-winning British author, has defined empathy as, “finding echoes of another person in yourself.” How better to see echoes of another in yourself then by reaching a common goal together, acknowledging the struggles and frustrations along the way, while knowing a common goal can be reached together? At The Lotus School, our students are wired for a sense of community.  In a recent article in Forbes, Teri Citterman, CEO of Talonn, writes, “Why empathy? Because it has the ability to make a material difference in how leaders lead and people respond. When people feel like their boss knows them, they feel cared for and heard; it translates to inspired and motivated employees. Their trust increases. Creativity increases. Most importantly, people who feel cared about, feel safe. They feel like they matter and that their work has purpose.” Work and school should have a purpose; students and employees should feel like they matter.  When students engage in a project, one they designed and are invested in, learning has a purpose.  Students then take more educational risks and stretch mentally. When they have a dependable community to catch them when they fall, students can then make larger educational strides. This starts with empathy. A Second Screening of Angst with a Panel Discussion to follow Through this process, we all acknowledge the feeling; we teach our students to meet others where they are. We help our students to understand that frustration/anger is here and feels real right now, but it will pass. We build connection to their present feeling rather then merely telling them that it will all work out or to cheer up. What better place to teach students this powerful skill than in school while learning something that is personally meaningful? We practice these skills while in a calmer emotional state so that when challenges arise and emotions flare, we have the skills to navigate through the difficulty. We have a starting point. We can teach students to help others by seeing where the other person is, connecting with them in that place, knowing that the feelings are temporary. Seeing this in others, naturally you can see it in yourself.