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Holidays at ASA

Welcome Summer! Why Students at ASA Know That A Break from School Isn’t A Break from Learning

Congratulations to all of our students, faculty and staff, educators, and parents here at ASA on making it to Summer Break 2018! We enjoyed a great year of learning, creating, having fun, and continuing the tradition of excellence in education that All Saints Academy is known and loved for in our community. While we are all ready for the relaxation and time away that summer offers, parents, teachers, and students alike know that summer is no reason for the fun of learning to end, and is, in fact, the perfect opportunity to enhance what you’ve been doing all year long in the classroom.

Reading is a huge part of keeping your child’s mind active during the summer months. According to the U.S. Department of Education, each year teachers report students suffering from “summer learning loss,” and unfortunately, it can have long-lasting consequences. Failing to keep your child’s mind engaged over the summer with educational opportunities (especially reading) means they can fall behind. In fact, experts calculate that students who lose reading ability over the summer break period can end up with approximately 3 years of reading loss by the time they reach 5th grade. So, what can we do to protect our children from falling behind while still letting them enjoy their summer vacation? Read to them, read with them, and let them see YOU reading too! Households with a “reading culture” produce students who love to read, and therefore, love to learn. Florida’s own Ann Scott says, “The gift of literacy is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. Books can have a profound and lasting impact on the reader and I encourage Florida families to take every opportunity to make reading a part of their daily lives.” One of your greatest tools you’ll employ this summer when establishing a reading culture in your home is a library card. This free resource opens up an entire world to you and your student(s), and allows you to provide them with a blend of both fictional and non-fictional reading material that will keep their minds fed all summer long. Plan to make regular trips to the library, and ask about programs offered to students during the summer at your local branch. Many of them offer incentive programs or clubs with prizes offers for books read, and most libraries in our area also offer a story time for younger children who can’t yet read on their own. Even road trips for your summer travels can become learning opportunities with audio book selections offered through your local branch. These let students of all ages learn about a topic together, and are a huge help for children who may get carsick when trying to read from a book or a tablet screen. Along with reading when thinking of road trips, plan ways to make your summer travels and vacations an immersive learning experience for your student too! Visiting aquariums, zoos, museums, art galleries, historic sites, and more can be a great way for students to make connections between what they learned in the classroom and what they can see/touch/experience on their travels. This type of immersion is a great way to help your student fully understand the subject at hand and remember it in a way only possible with these in-person, real life experiences.

In addition to reading and travel experiences, there are plenty of educational camps and programs in the Central Florida area and beyond. We have an extensive list of summer camp choices right here at ASA, for the youngest K-5 learners all the way through high school. With subjects ranging from Exploration, to Sports, to Fine Arts (including dance and drama), your student is sure to find something they love, and won’t even realize that they are investing in their education in the midst of having a great time. We know that YOU as the parent will see the exponential benefits of these camps for years to come. Older students at the high school level can also use the summer to participate in volunteer projects, internships, and other activities that will go a long way in boosting their resume as they apply for college in the coming years. Local colleges and universities even offer summer courses for students who would like to engage in continued learning during the summer months, and these can be a wonderful opportunity for young people who want to further explore a specific subject, or better master skills they’ll be using in the upcoming 2018-2019 school year.

We hope all of our families here at All Saints Academy have a wonderful summer vacation, and we can’t wait to see all of you back on campus this Fall. We encourage you to get out there and enjoy the world around you this summer, and take every opportunity to live and learn to the fullest during your time out of the classroom. See you soon!

Grandfriends Day at ASA! Celebrating Generations of Love and Support

Parental support for students is a topic widely discussed in the educational world today, and it’s no secret that students who feel supported by adults in the home perform better and more easily achieve success in their endeavors. However, support can come from many other avenues as well, and one major outlet for many students of all ages are grandparents, or “grandfriends” (older, influential adults in their lives). This support system is unique in that it offers children a broader perspective from someone who has lived longer, and experienced more, than younger influential adults in the students’ lives, and that is invaluable when teaching the next generation about the world around them.

There are many ways you can support this multi-generational influence in the life of your own child, including:

  • Scheduling time for your child(ren) to spend with grandparents. Whether this is a routine meal out together, having them visit on a regular basis, or planning activities for your child to do with them, be intentional in including the older generation in your daily life.
  • Finding “grandfriends” if your child is unable to interact with their biological grandparents due to distance or other circumstances. In your community, church, local clubs and organizations, etc. you can find older adults who would love the opportunity to spend time with the up-and-coming generation of young people. This could be a great time to not only benefit your child, but also brighten the days of someone who might not have grandchildren or family nearby who want to be involved. It’s a mutual benefit!
  • Encouraging attendance at events (like ASA’s upcoming Grandfriends Day) when possible. Your support demonstrates to your student that you value multi-generational involvement, and that people of all ages are important for learning and experiencing life.

Grandfriends Day is a beloved tradition here at All Saints Academy. We enjoy seeing multi-generational interactions amongst our students and their visiting family and friends, and we’re thankful to have the opportunity to show our special visitors how much we appreciate the support our students receive from them.

We look forward to welcoming grandparents and grandfriends to our campus for GrandsFriends Days later this week! Middle and Upper School students are celebrating February 15th at 2:00 PM beginning in the Pou Chapel, and our Lower School will be hosting GrandFriends on February 16th at 8:30 AM in the Lower School Gathering Hall. Mark your calendars and join us for a great time!

 

New Year, New Beginnings: Making 2018 A Great Year at ASA

Happy New Year to all of our ASA students, families, and staff! We are excited to see what 2018 holds for all of us here at All Saints Academy, and we want to encourage our students to think of this year as a time for a fresh start. This is a wonderful time for setting new goals, trying new things, and putting your best foot forward as we begin our second semester. We wanted to share a few habits to incorporate into your new year to make it your best yet:

  • Set up a new routine: Sometimes, a fresh start needs nothing more than a few adjustments to your schedule. Getting up 30 minutes earlier than you did last semester could be exactly what you need to make sure you can begin your day with a good breakfast, plenty of time to prepare for school, and much less stress than a rushed schedule caused by sleeping too late. Ensuring that you get enough rest is important too, so keeping a consistent and reasonably early bedtime is another great way to kick off the spring semester in the right way.
  • Branch out and try something new: While it’s great to have sports, clubs, and activities in which you are comfortable and experienced, there’s much to be gained by exploring new opportunities. This could be your year to step forward and try out for a new sport, pick up a new instrument, or join a new club. You never know what talents and skills might be revealed!
  • Be proactive and have a plan: Creating a plan and setting goals is key to building a framework for success, whether they be academic, personal, or (in the case of our graduating Seniors) professional. Take the time to write down your goals and place them where they will be a frequent reminder to keep you motivated as the semester progresses.
  • Reach out and expand your social circle: We are excited to have several new students join the All Saints Academy family this semester. Look for opportunities to get to know our newest Saints and encourage them to join in the many aspects of life at ASA.

We look forward all that the coming year holds for each of our students. All Saints Academy families know that faculty and staff are here to work alongside each student to ensure success on all levels, and we make it our own personal goal to see each child achieve his or her highest potential both in the classroom and out in the world.

Let’s make 2018 the best year yet at All Saints Academy!

Home for The Holidays

Christmas is quickly approaching, and All Saints Academy is bustling this week with students taking midterms, faculty completing first semester lessons, and preparation for the celebration of love, joy and peace with friends and family from far and near. We are enjoying the many visits from alumni who are back home for the holiday season and are looking forward to spending time with them at various school events and at our annual Alumni Holiday Party.
This year’s event will be held at Lakeland Brewing Company on December 22nd. We’ll be celebrating together from 6-8 PM in this fun venue right beside Lake Mirror. Come out and enjoy catching up with other ASA alum and faculty as we enjoy delicious food, a beautiful view, and the relaxing ambiance of Lakeland Brewing Co. Please RSVP to events@allsaintsacademy.com by Monday, December 18th so we can save your spot and add you to the guest list!
Another meaningful way for our alumni to participate in the festivities at ASA this year is by giving back to our school as we continue to serve the current student body and prepare future All Saints alumni. This year has been both wonderful and challenging so far, as we kicked off the 2017-2018 school year with Hurricane Irma and saw the beauty of our community rallying around our school amidst the damage sustained in the storm. Charitable gifts go a long way in helping us get return to normal, and therefore open our doors to even more students in the coming year. If All Saints Academy has touched your life, either as a student, parent, grandparent, or faculty member, and you feel led to give back this holiday season, visit our site for more information on how you can help us inspire independent thinkers, principled leaders, and humble learners. We thank you in advance for paying it forward and helping us continue to create a transformational experience for students.
Welcome home to our alumni, and Happy Holidays to our friends and neighbors from All Saints Academy!

Finishing Strong: Being Your Best At The End of The School Semester

As Christmas break quickly approaches, and we prepare to wrap up the first semester of the 2017-2018 school year, it can be hectic with various holiday activities, school assignments, exams, presentations, performances, and more. While all of the flurry can be fun with the anticipation of this special time, it can be helpful to have some tips to help you through when the days seem full and you aren’t quite sure from where you’ll pull the time or energy to make it through the next thing on the calendar. We are encouraging our students (and teachers) to finish strong this semester, and put their very best self forward at the end of 2017.

Some tips we offered them in the classroom might help you too, so keep these things in mind as you prepare for the upcoming holidays:

Be Intentional with Your Time

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed if you look at a to-do list, or a weekly calendar, and see a variety of due dates and activities facing you. If you just start running from one thing to the next with no forethought or a plan, you might end up wasting valuable time. Have a loose “game plan” for each day, with the highest priorities at the top of the list, and things that could wait at the bottom. If items could be grouped together (such as, studying for a final exam on the bus ride to your basketball game) it will save time and effort, and could leave you with more checked off your list each day than you expected! Also, have a planner or calendar where all activities, homework assignments, exams, games, etc. are listed with times and specific notes. This gives you a “master plan” to work from each day, so nothing important gets overlooked. This intentional planning of your time will guarantee that you end the semester with everything checked off and ready to enjoy the holidays!

We Succeed Together, NOT Solo

Teamwork is important in education, and not just in collaborative projects or on the football field. At ASA we encourage students to think of their teachers, mentors, advisors, and other school faculty as part of their team, and to use them as a support system when trying to finish the semester strong. We want our students to succeed, so extra help is ready and waiting for those who ask. Don’t struggle along by yourself! Pull resources from those around you so we can all enjoy a successful end to the semester.

Take Care of YOU

Don’t forget about yourself in the hustle and bustle. Taking time out for health and wellness is most important at this time of year, since no one wants to be under the weather over break! Engaging in regular physical activity through exercise such as yoga, running, sports, or other fun choices is a great way to relieve stress, improve circulation and cardiovascular function, and give you a clear head to keep working hard. Be mindful of what you eat as well, since holiday treats are lurking at every corner and the excess sugar can actually decrease energy and make you feel worse instead of better. We aren’t saying you can’t enjoy a Christmas cookie or a party treat, but make sure you’re fitting in all your healthy choices too! Finally, get enough SLEEP. Lack of sleep is a common issue at the end of the school year, but failing to get your 8 hours each night could have consequences far greater than dozing off in class. Lack of adequate sleep means you’ll have a harder time studying and paying attention to lectures, might struggle on exams, and have overall poor performance which is not how you want to finish out 2017.

As we prepare for the next couple of busy weeks here at All Saints Academy, we hope you feel encouraged to finish strong. Whether you presented at the Innovation Studios NuVu exhibition this week, performing in the Upper or Lower school holiday concert, or gearing up for exams, know we are here for you and ready to help you accomplish your goals and be your very best in the coming New Year.

Integrated Education: How Our Youngest Students Learn Through Play

Here at All Saints Academy, the phrase “no pencils required” is often used to describe our educational philosophy. This means we strive to provide learning through a variety of experiences, hands-on activities, rich literature and reading materials, and discussion among educators and students. For our youngest students in our Lower School​,​ a lot of this learning comes through play.

Play is something that comes naturally for children, yet gives them a wide array of educational opportunities​, and we endeavor to create an environment where “learning” and “fun” are one and the same for our young students. ​ Walk into one of our Pre-K or Kindergarten classrooms here at ASA and you’ll find days filled with music, dancing, imaginative play, visits to our hydroponic and vegetable gardens and pond habitat, and of course, plenty of time in our “Discovery Zone.”

What is this Discovery Zone? Essentially, this area is where students in Pre-K through Grade 1 are introduced to math, science, technology, and design concepts through ​the ​exploration that comes naturally to children of this age. Activities like the magnetic wall, the light table, engineering blocks, sensory table, artistic tinker lab, and even robot exploration are available for children to enjoy through play, all the while building the foundation that will make up their education throughout their time at All Saints Academy, all the way up to our Upper School Innovation in the Baldwin Center for Innovation and Collaboration.

Collaboration is another important part of our Lower School (Pre-K to Grade 5) at ASA, and we incorporate it through programs ​like our ​Learning Buddies, pairing students across grade levels,, and through various clubs and extracurricular activities available for various age groups. These clubs and activities also bridge subjects like performing and fine arts, leadership opportunities, technology, and more. Nothing is one-dimensional in the curriculum at ASA. Our goal is for each activity, and each learning opportunity, to engage many parts of our students’ minds, and give them the highest quality, well-rounded education possible.

If you are interested in learning more about how we approach education from the earliest age at All Saints, we have plenty of information here, and with a simple click or two you can learn more about our learning opportunities and curriculum for middle school and Upper School students as well. The spark of a love for learning begins early, and our goal is to fan that flame and turn it into a blaze that motivates our oldest students far beyond their days at ASA.

Rainy Day Fun: Keep Your Kids Entertained No Matter The Weather

Now that summer is here, and the first week of summer vacation is behind us, mothers across Polk County will likely start to hear the familiar whine of “I’m bored!” ringing through their homes.  On most days, thanks to our sunny Florida weather, you can head outdoors and hit up one of our many local playgrounds, preserves, or splash parks to entertain your kids.  Older kids and teens enjoy going to the pool, or even heading to one of our nearby theme parks to burn off the boredom blues and enjoy time with friends. These are all great options…until the weather turns bad.

During this time of year, we usually experience afternoon thunderstorms, and some weeks (like now) we have cloudy, rainy weather almost all day every day.  This is when parents start to feel the walls closing in around them and their kids who are tired of watching television, have read all the books, and eaten all the snacks.  When this happens, it’s time to GET OUT, but where can you go?  Fortunately, Polk County has plenty of indoor options for kids of all ages to have a good time.

Winter Haven residents can head over to Cypress Lanes.  Our local bowling alley has daily specials (find them at http://cypresslanes.com/Specials) that guarantee a great time for you and your kids.  Meet up with a few other families and head over to enjoy an afternoon of friendly competition!  Other nearby opportunities include the Cobb Theatre, where free summer movies are being offered one day each week.  Discount popcorn and drinks are available.  Learn more at https://www.cobbtheatres.com/pdf/KidsShow-2017/COB_KidsGrand10.pdf.

If you’re in Lakeland, there is plenty of indoor fun for you too!  The Cobb in Lakeland is also offering free summer movie showings each week.  If your kids need to burn off energy, 2Infinity (http://www.2infinity.us) is a great trampoline experience in North Lakeland where your kids can jump for hours, and enjoy the trapeze, climbing ropes, foam pits, and more.  Want something more suited to younger students?  Explorations V children’s museum in downtown Lakeland (http://explorationsv.com) is a great way to blend fun and education at the same time.

Another great way to keep your kids entertained all summer long?  Our camps here at All Saints Academy!  We are offering day camp experiences of all types, from sport camps like soccer and lacrosse, to scientific studies, theatre, dance, and even readiness camps for the youngest students who are prepping for kindergarten.  Why not let your student have fun and learn at the same time?  It’s not too late to sign up for our upcoming camps.  Visit https://allsaintsacademy.com/summer2017 for information about each camp and instructions on how to register.

No matter the weather, enjoy Summer 2017 with your kids.  Camps at ASA are a great place to start!

books-484766_640Summer is finally here, and we know our ASA students are enjoying their first week of vacation with plenty of lounging around and enjoying having nothing to do.  However, we also know that can get old quickly, and students will be looking for ways to stay engaged during the remaining weeks of their break.  While it can be easy to allow time on a cell phone, a tablet, or a computer to take over, few options will help them grow the way that a good book can.  Reading isn’t just important to boost reading fluency and comprehension skills, but also to develop language, expand knowledge of various subjects, and open up other worlds to your student.

Children of all ages, from preschool to high school, should be continually reading to enhance their education all year long.  Here at All Saints Academy, we provide students with required reading assignments over their summer break, and we provide parents with suggested reading lists, which includes information about using reading to target learning at your student’s specific level.  However, there are a few common factors among all grade levels:

  1. Reading boosts language and vocabulary.  From the youngest kindergarteners just learning to sound out basic words, to the high school graduate heading to college, reading offers continual exposure to language development and new vocabulary. Younger students will be learning to recognize the correlation between spoken language and written language (what the words they say look like written on paper) and older students will be exposed to words they might not know.  This is a great time to encourage them to look up the meanings, find out the background of any unknown vocabulary, and perhaps even keep a log of new words they are exposed to over the summer.  Children who are voracious readers have a much larger vocabulary to pull from when writing and speaking.
  2. Reading creates thinkers.  Not only are students exposed to plenty of new vocabulary when reading, but they are also exposed to new information, other cultures, historical figures, and more.  Entire worlds can open up to a child within the pages of a book, allowing them endless discovery of all types of subjects.  Few things develop thinking skills like reading a variety of books and materials since children aren’t being taught how or what to think, but rather are being given information and allowed to process and investigate it on their own.
  3. Reading enhances prior knowledge.  While your child gleaned much information over the previous school year, he or she likely had subjects that they would have enjoyed studying in more depth, or perhaps they struggled with something that didn’t engage them and you want to help them connect with it in a better way. Books are a wonderful way to enhance any subject.  If your student was struggling with a particular time period being studied in history, historical fiction is a fantastic supplement to help them dive in and really grasp the topic.  Did your student really enjoy a particular piece of literature used in the curriculum this past year?  Look for similar works by different authors, or find more works by the same author, to help them further develop their reading skills and connect them with what they learned during the school year.

We hope these tips help you as you plan for summer vacation.  There is no better way to bust boredom than a good book!  We encourage you to frequent the local libraries this summer, or encourage your children to further explore their home library.  All Saints Academy is proud to work alongside parents and caregivers to help each of our students reach full potential.  We can’t wait to see our students back here in the Fall and hear about their reading adventures over summer break!

Showing Appreciation to Our Servicemen: How to Honor Those Who Have Served

FullSizeRender.jpgMemorial Day is coming up, and with that comes all things red, white, and blue.  While the parties, parades, and picnics are fun, it’s important to remember why we celebrate this holiday in the first place.  One of the best ways to remind yourself, and those around you, about the importance of Memorial Day is by recognizing those who have served. This is particularly important if you know someone personally who has served, or has been directly impacted by the military service.  Recently we were privileged to witness a heartwarming homecoming of SMSGT Danielle Holbert (mom of ASA students Ryan and Braylee Holbert) right here on the All Saints Campus!  She was home on a 3-week break from her one-year tour in South Korea, and surprised here kids at school!  Moments like this are great reminders of why it’s so important to recognize our military personnel and the sacrifices they make.

So, how can you show appreciation for those who protect our country?  Here are a few ideas to help you get started:

Letters of Appreciation.

A subtle way to recognize those who have served in any capacity is to write out your thanks!  A simple note to tell them that you honor and appreciate the sacrifice they made is a great way to make sure they don’t go unnoticed on Memorial Day.  Don’t forget a note to anyone you know who has lost a close loved one (like a spouse or a child) to military service.  They have sacrificed for our nation as well.  Even the youngest students can practice their writing and drawing skills to make pictures or cards for veterans and their families.

Appreciation Breakfast/Lunch.

If you know several veterans, consider having a special breakfast or lunch to honor them.  This could be a great class service project, or even something done by a family.  It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy, but the fact that you are wiling to publicly recognize their service goes a long way!  Only know one serviceman or veteran? Consider having a breakfast or lunch for him/her and their close family.  After all, like we said above, their families sacrificed during their time spent in service too!

Pay It Forward.

Another great way to recognize our servicemen and women at this time of year is to give back!  Making a donation in their name to Wounded Warriors, or other veteran support resources is a wonderful thank-you to our military.  Let them know what you did with a note or a printout of the donation.  This could, again, be a class service project.  Have students collect coins and loose change, or send a note home to parents to give them the opportunity to contribute as well!  We are sure this will make any veteran recognized feel appreciated AND you’ll be assisting others just like them as they return home from service.

Whether it’s a grandparent, aunt, uncle, mom, dad, neighbor, or simply someone you pass on the street, don’t forget to thank those who have sacrificed for our country this Memorial Day.  All Saints Academy extends our thanks and appreciation to those in our Polk County community and beyond who have served our military in any capacity, and we honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice of their lives for our freedom.

Happy Memorial Day from ASA!

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