Childhood memories of Chess – still creating joy 60 years later

chessAs I recall the memories of my childhood, I am drawn to the relationship I had with my father, cemented by the game of chess. I remember from an early age how hectic our daily life was. Dad was setting up his medical practice and my mom was left to mind my brother and me. Though he tried, dad was, in my mind, never home or if he was, he was so tired he went right to sleep.

Soon my sister joined the family. Now things were really chaotic. I think I was about 8 when dad brought home a chess board and said let me teach you how to play. My brother was 5 and soon lost interest, but I jumped at the chance to be with dad and learn the game. I remember trying to hurry up and finish dinner, wash the dishes (a weekly chore) and, if he was home rushing up to the den to play chess.

As the years rolled on, I became a good chess player. Lots of terrific matches until I was finally able to beat him. I think I was 14 years old. Regardless, the hours we spent together were priceless. I remember him saying, “have you really thought about that move” or “see the whole board” or “have you planned 5 moves ahead”.  All of this helped me develop an ability to think critically.

More than that, we spent hours together. We collected different chess boards from all over the world – a real geography lesson. We followed Bobby Fischer, the greatest American chess master as he captured the world championship. My dad is 93 years old and we still play whenever we get together. Our chess bond has lasted 60 years.

On that note many of you know that we have added a chess club at BCD. The “Chess Wizards” meet for six weeks each trimester on Tuesday after school from 3:15-4:30. We have a wide range of students from Pre-k- 6th grade. Introducing chess at an early age is incredibly beneficial for many reasons. Studies have been done in the past few decades that demonstrate that chess helps students improve their grades, specifically in Math and Science. It also helps increase their self-esteem, memory, problem solving ability and their ability to focus.

Plus it is just plain fun! Regardless of a child’s skill, the chess club is designed to create a life-long love of the “Game of Kings”.  We invite you to drop by on Tuesdays to see it in action!

- Phil Demartini

Elementary School Director

Posted in Elementary school, Middle School, Uncategorized

If only summer could last forever…well maybe it can

Ah, Summer. I can feel it now. The sounds of birds chirping and children laughing. The sun shining, the smell of sunscreen, your child’s hard earned neural connections disappearing. Wait… What?

Neural connections, or synapses, function under a basic “use it or lose it” rule.  Summer learning loss is a hefty challenge that both students and classroom teachers face. In 2011, the New York Times published an article with a catchy title: This is your brain on summer. The article basically negated the notion that children need relaxing, unstructured summers.

IMG_0890Does this mean that students need to be doing flashcards and worksheets all summer? Certainly not. However, we must keep our brains engaged in pursuits that activate the portions of our brain responsible for language, critical thinking, and creativity. It is from these functions that our children can develop and retain the skills necessary for reading, mathematics, and other academic skills. We can accomplish this while still having FUN! Trust me, your child will be so busy laughing and smiling, they will have no idea they are actually strengthening their brains.

BCD Summer Camp understands these neurological needs and offers a wide variety of summer camps offerings sure to keep your child mentally engaged, while still having a great time. For instance, Lego Engineering classes couple the excitement of building and inherent draw of Legos with the neurological benefits of problem solving and critical thinking. Sports camp encourages not only coordination and teamwork, but also releases chemicals within the brain that promote cell development and strengthening of connections.

Our specialty camp offerings span a wide range of disciplines. Sports, Engineering, Movie Making, Art, Needle IMG_1983Crafts, Cooking, and Cake Decorating are just a few of the multi-benefit courses offered. As the school year approaches, prepare your child for a more formal school day by enrolling in one of our many “Academic Camps”, such as French, Jump Start to Kindergarten, or Upper Elementary All Stars.

Additionally, our day camp offers full day experiences that mix science, art, literacy, and math concepts into a balanced program for students ages 3-7. Children spend each week exploring a new theme (Insects, Outer Space, etc.) through a variety of modalities. You may see day camp children engaged in cooking projects, arts and crafts, nature walks, organized games, and outdoor play.

Outdoor play is increasingly linked to brain research, cognitive growth, and enhanced learning. A 2004 study published in the American Journal of Public Health showed that time spent outside and in nature can lead to a reduction in ADHD symptoms as well as increases in attention span and impulse control. This is due in large part to the ability of natural environments to engage the mind effortlessly.

BCD_SC_Full_OrangeSo, why wait? Keep your child active and learning throughout the summer. Avoid summer slide and sign your child up for BCD’s summer program today. For more information on BCD’s summer program, visit our website at: http://bouldercountryday.org/PROGRAMS_SUMMER_PROGRAMS.php.

Kath Courter and Stephanie Vaughn Simkins

BCD Summer Program Directors

 

Referenced articles:

Kuo, F. and Taylor, A. (2004), A potential natural treatment for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: evidence from a national study. American Journal of Public Health. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1448497/

Musolf, D. (2014), Does outdoor play make kids smarter? San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved from: http://www.mercurynews.com/bay-area-living/ci_25181071/does-outdoor-play-make-kids-smarter 

Smink, J. (2011), This is your brain on summer. The New York Times. Retrieved from: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/28/opinion/28smink.html?_r=1&

Posted in Elementary school, Kindergarten, Middle School, Music and Arts, Preschool, Sports | Tagged

My favorite teacher, by Aliza

karen-mortonMy name is Aliza, I’m in 6th grade, and I have been at BCD since I was three. This school has made a real difference in my life, and it matters a lot to me about how much my teachers care about not only my grades, but also about me as a person. I have had so many amazing teachers, but the teacher that has really made a huge difference in my school life is Mrs. Morton. Mrs. Morton is the Middle School science teacher, and she has showed me what I can achieve. Mrs. Morton has made me LOVE science – it’s my favorite subject! She teaches you how to ask questions and figure out anything you want to know. Mrs. Morton is an amazing teacher, but also an amazing person who cares about every one of her students. She always welcomes me with a friendly hello, and always asks how I’m doing. I was a little scared going into Middle School, and all my teachers welcomed me with open arms. Thank you so much for making a difference, Mrs. Morton!  - Aliza, 6th grader

Posted in Character, Middle School, Science, Support Education, Teachers

Why I love the Middle School Dances, by Steffie

In the middle school, 6-8th grades participate in 3 dances every year. We get to bring food and drinks that we enjoy in the kitchen. We have DJs that play songs that everyone knows and we all sing and dance to them. We buy raffle tickets and win prizes if our name gets pulled out of the jar.

The dances our held in the gym and the start at 6:30 and end at 9:30. We are chaperoned by our teachers. Student Council help to organize the dances. Student Council walk around taking photos and pictures of people hanging out.

This has made me love BCD, because I allows me to spend time with my friends. It allows me to sing and dance without getting weird looks. I love watching my friends trying to ask people out and I love making up dance numbers before the dance and then breaking out in them. BCD is a lovely community and I suggest it. 

- Steffie, 6th grader

Posted in Character, Middle School, Thoughts, Uncategorized

My favorite teacher, by Amelia

veronica-johns-richardsonMy name is Amelia. I am 11 years old and in sixth grade. I am new this year but have been welcomed into the Boulder Country Day community as if I have been here for years. I love the teachers here at BCD, they have helped me through everything I needed help with.

Coach V.J is one of those many teachers. Coach V.J teaches me Pre-Algebra. Coming from a different country the curricula is completely different, especially in math. To begin with I found it quite overwhelming – luckily I mentioned this to Coach V.J and she helped me.  For about the first 30 days of school I went to see her every morning to get help with my homework from the night before.  She was very patient and encouraging with me.  I now ‘get’ Pre-Algebra and know that I can call in to see her if I have any questions about it.

Coach V.J has been supportive and caring with everything. Pre-algebra is getting a lot easier now. I finally can do my homework with almost no questions to ask her, but when I do have to ask Coach V.J a question I can just swing by her room at any time. Thank you Coach V.J  –  Amelia, 6th grader

Posted in Uncategorized

PTO at BCD – Collaboration for a Stronger Community

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The Boulder Country Day School Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) is a wonderful parent-based committee consisting of volunteers who believe in supporting the needs of students, teachers and parents at BCD. We strive to encourage and foster a strong sense of community. Through a number of different avenues, we fund raise and channel every earned dollar right back into our school. 

 

To date, through funds earned through PTO dues, the Noodles and Pizza lunch program, the Box Tops program, the Used Uniform closet, and a few other programs, our PTO has granted $5,420 to our amazing teachers in the form of “Teacher Enrichments”. These mini-grants have come in the form of libraries of books for the classrooms, science lab kits, ukuleles, math games, the ELMO projector in the computer lab, ProjectSTEM in the middle school, and much more. The latest use of Teacher Enrichment funds is the Elementary School Art and Science cabinet in the teacher resource room. When you come to visit campus, please check it out. It’s a work in progress, yet an incredible example of the PTO funds being used on a daily basis to enrich the experience children have at BCD.

 

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This year, we have reintroduced monthly meetings to provide a forum for information dissemination, as well as, community building. We typically meet the third Thursday of each month in the library and have been amazed at the incredible energy in the room at each meeting. Our incredible parents not only create time to attend these meetings, but also bring their wealth of ideas, cares and concerns to the room. We are learning so much about what our parent community wants and needs, and also how we can best support our teachers and school. We hope that if you join BCD next year, that you come to our meetings!  

Posted in Elementary school, Kindergarten, Middle School, Preschool, Uncategorized

Choosing a Middle School: Why BCD?

Middle School Students Need a Broad, Balanced Curriculum

Middle school students at BCD undertake a rich, challenging program in Math, Science, History, English, STEM,IMG_9618 and Foreign Language, which includes Latin for all students as well as a choice of French or Spanish.   Moreover, BCD middle school students have the opportunity to experience music, art, technology, and PE in our Exploratory program, where they can follow their interests in classes such as Yoga, Mandarin, Stock Market, Graffiti Art, Songwriting, and Video Game Programming.  Following our school motto – Respect Yourself.  Respect Others.  Take Responsibility for Your Actions – lessons about integrity and character and social responsibility are also woven into grade level themes explored across all disciplines in the curriculum.

Accreditations and Membership Matter

ib circle logoBCD is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools, is accredited by the Association of Colorado Independent Schools (ACIS), and is an official International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme (IB MYP).   Affiliations with these organizations assure ongoing program accountability and evaluation and provide protocols for continuous improvement.  Our IB program allows students to experience curriculum and instruction in an environment that values a more global perspective and emphasizes the big ideas that connect all disciplines together.

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During years in which so much change takes place, middle school students at BCD benefit from learning in our small classes with teachers who know them and handle them with tender care.  Small class sizes also allow teachers to have a level of understanding of students that enables them to differentiate instruction to fit students’ individual needs.  Academic advising, counseling, and learning specialist services all serve to make sure our students are well adjusted, well cared for learners.

Learning by Doing

Students at BCD do not merely listen to teachers talking and take notes, they have opportunities to live and learn by doing in and out of the classroom.  Debating on behalf of a resolution during out Model UN convention, being the prosecuting attorney during a mock trial based on To Kill a Mockingbird, creating a presentation about where we see quadratics in the real world, solving a crime using forensics as part of our problem-based CSI simulation, building a Rube-Goldberg machine in STEM class, creating QR codes that link to videos of students speaking Spanish, studying friction by analyzing the tread of tires in our parking lot – these kinds of learning experiences help our teachers engage students thoroughly in their own learning.

BCDs Innovative 1:1 Program

Zen with tabletAll students in the middle school at BCD have their own tablet, and the DyKnow software teachers and students use encourages robust teacher-student interaction, including live status checks for understanding, instant submission of homework from student to teacher, monitoring of tablets by the teacher, and live feedback from teacher to student.   Whether connecting via google hangouts with students in Istanbul, Turkey, peer editing electronically with classmates in groups, creating a multimedia presentation as a culminating exercise, or annotating classroom notes with multicolored highlighting, students are fortunate to be in an environment where teaching and learning are                                                     enhanced by technology.

Dr. Spencer Edmunds

Middle School Director

Posted in Character, Foreign Language, Middle School

BCD’s Sixth Annual Preschool Olympics

BCD_POlympicsBoulder Country Day’s annual Preschool Olympics represent happiness and joy in their truest forms.

All week, the excitement has built in eager anticipation of the preschool Olympics. The Olympics connect our youngest students on campus with the rest of BCD’s students and faculty. Earlier in the week, as we practiced our relay races I watched former preschool students (now in elementary and middle school) stream into the gymnasium from recess to watch. The students fondly remember being in preschool and experiencing firsthand the thrill of the Olympic  Games and the “I did it!” sense of accomplishment follow event.

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In addition, teachers sent email notes stating how excited they are and how the preschool Olympics is their favorite assembly of the year. One teacher wrote about how she becomes overwhelmed with emotion during the Olympics. The students inspire her as they demonstrate their camaraderie, determination, stamina, and courage. So much so, in her words, that she cries through the entire event.

 

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This year BCD’s Preschool Olympics coincide with the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Recent articles and stories in news publications and broadcasts make me think a lot about the connection between the Olympics, anti-bias education, and peace. BCD firmly believes in the importance of anti-bias curriculum and we strive to be a school community that supports and accepts everyone.

In the words of Louise Derman-Sparks (2010), a prolific writer and supporter of anti-bias curriculum, “As children try to relate what is different about what they already know, they learn new lessons about the world. These lessons can contribute to their reacting to differences with trust and tolerance or with fear and violence. The lessons set the tone for how children will deal with differences among people throughout life – differences in how they look, act, and think.”

The preschool Olympics provide us all with an opportunity to come together and remember what is truly important in life. The Preschool Olympics and the lessons taught in the classroom help support our students to develop positive attitudes and values and live our school motto – Respect yourself. Respect others. Take responsibility for your actions. Actions that will, I hope, lead the way towards a more peaceful planet.

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We (all of us at BCD) believe in the potential of our young students. We nurture them with care and compassion as valuable members of our school community. They are the creators of, and contributors to, the world and the culture in which we live. They are our future – people who will think, create, and write policies rooted in acceptance, understanding, tolerance, and peaceful interactions. And, as I watched them during the Preschool Olympics, I could not help but think that the future really is a lovely place.

To read more about the Preschool Olympics and to see footage past years, check out our past Preschool Best 16Olympic blog posts at http://blog.bouldercountryday.org/category/preschool/

Kath Courter, Boulder Country Day School Preschool Director

Posted in Preschool, Sports, Uncategorized

Model UN

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Best 3The Learner Profile of the International Baccalaureate program challenges the faculty in the BCD Middle School to create global citizens who are knowledgeable, thinkers, inquirers and risk takers. Proof that these skills are developing in our students was apparent this past Wednesday, at the middle school Model United Nations.

Students prepare for several weeks as a member state of the United Nations. In small groups they research their nation’s political and economic systems, domestic issues and international conflicts. From this wealth of information, students draft resolutions to present to the General Assembly on Model UN Day. This year, the resolutions focused on issues such as nuclear disarmament, human trafficking, violence due to religious prejudice and disease epidemics. Students must listen carefully to the facts presented and vote from their country’s perspective on the issues. It is challenging, rich and meaningful, and invariably the students make us proud with the level of commitment and learning they demonstrate.

From working collaboratively in groups, conducting targeted research to speaking in a microphone, students gain many skills through Model UN. They enrich their knowledge of geography, politics, foreign relations, trade alliances and parliamentary procedure. Ultimately, they gain an understanding of how difficult it is to resolve differences among nations, and the positive power that lies within doing so.

 

From my place onstage as Parliamentarian, seated next to Secretary-General Kersey, I glimpsed our future leaders questioning, evaluating, discussing, agreeing, disagreeing and growing into the amazing young adults they are becoming. One of the best parts? When several students came into my class the next day and said, “Model UN was so fun! I can’t wait to do it again next year.”

Karen Blake

Middle School History and STEM teacher

Posted in Uncategorized

Admission and Open Enrollment

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It’s January which means this is enrollment season at Boulder Country Day School!  BCD serves students 3 years old through 8th grade and offers an amazing blend of traditional, academic structure with balanced curriculum and cutting-edge programming.   At BCD we believe that children are the catalysts of our society, the inventors of the future, and that tomorrow starts here!

Families come to BCD for many reasons.  Some have a family tradition of attending IMG_2503private or independent schools and they are looking for something similar to the education they received for their children.  Others are looking for something different from their current situation.  All, regardless of their background, are looking for a place where their children will thrive, where they will be seen, loved and challenged to reach their potential each and every day.  They are looking for a place where students can discover their excellence; a place that not only has a solid academic program but one that also emphasizes the arts, technology, foreign language, character development, social skills and athletics.

We realize that choosing a school is an important decision and one that can be overwhelming.  We are here to help!  Our website has lots of information about our school and also our admission process.   We’d like you to come visit so that you can see the school in action and so that we can meet you and hear about your dreams for your child’s growth and education.  Together we can explore if BCD is a fit. 

For those who think private school education is beyond your means, we ask you to visit BCD and learn about our generous financial aid program.  Our goal is to make BCD affordable for all who are admitted and we do our best each year to discuss your financial situation with you and to support your goals as best we can.  More information about our financial aid program can also be found online. 

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We would love to share our school with you.  Please call or email today to schedule an appointment to learn more!  303-516-4148 or sboyle@bouldercountryday.org 

I look forward to hearing from you.

Susan Boyle

Director of Admission

Posted in Admission, Elementary school, Middle School, Preschool