Right Start Blog

Why Traditions Matter

By: Annie Hasselgren
The Country School community is overflowing with history and tradition. In this blog post, we take a look at the importance of traditions in school life - and why they matter beyond graduation.
As a new parent to The Country School in 2015, I was fortunate to also be a staff member, privy to all of the inner workings of the school as well. It didn't take long for me to learn just how many "sacred cows" our students, families, and staff valued about our special little school. Below is a brief (and not exhaustive) list of some of our favorites:

Morning Handshake
Since 1934, our Head of School has been greeting every student with a handshake each morning. A tradition created by founding Headmistress Dorothy E. Startt, it laid - and continues to lay - the foundation for a friendly way to greet one another and acknowledge that we are part of a shared community. Making eye contact and shaking hands sets the tone for the day and ensures that every member of our school community feels seen and appreciated.

Halloween Assembly
Our Halloween assembly celebrates the creativity of our students - however scary or silly! It is tradition for the entire school to sing "Witches Brew" and for each grade level to show off their costumes. An extra special component of this event is our Kindergarten and 8th grade buddy teams coordinating their costumes and performing together. Our staff really get into it as well, including a 2021 barnyard animal theme in our Lower School!

Holiday Breakfast and Assembly
Although our Holiday Breakfast has evolved over the years, the premise is the same: sharing a meal together in community on the last day of school before winter break. Parent volunteers serve our students and the K/8 buddy teams eat together. The day closes with an assembly in which every grade level performs a winter or holiday song.

Grandparents and Special Friends Day
Grandparents and Special Friends Day is a wonderful opportunity for the grandparents, friends, and loved ones of our students to see where they spend so much of their time. Kicking off with breakfast, coffee, and an address from our Head of School, attendees then visit their students' classrooms and do special activities with them. An assembly closes out the day - and we recommend Kleenex for the especially moving performances meant to show every attendee how much they are loved and appreciated.

Dorothy Andrew Day
The Country School field day is named after beloved P.E. teacher Dorothy Andrew and is a day of healthy competition between the Black and Gold Teams. Upon admission to The Country School, students are assigned membership to one of these teams, to which they belong until graduation. Families with prior alumni carry the same team color throughout and the year culminates with an announcement as to which team won for the year. Parents attend the event, tailgate style, to cheer on their kids and the event closes with a rousing tug-o-war. Our 2022 event was especially competitive, with an alumni Black vs. Gold tug-o-war!

Traditions provide a healthy understanding of self for children from a young age, which establishes trust, a sense of predictability, and build skills around forming connections that they will carry with them beyond their school years. These memories and relationships will be carried with our students throughout their lives in the hope that they will pass along the value of tradition to future generations.

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