Dear Post Oak Families,
With a heavy heart, I write to you this morning about the tragic shooting that has left families devastated by the loss of their loved ones. Yesterday’s school shooting in Uvalde, TX, left 19 children and two adults dead. All schools should be a safe place for children, teachers, and staff. No family should fear whether or not their children will survive the school day. It is horrific to imagine the loss of life, what the students witnessed yesterday, and what the community is experiencing today. Our hearts ache for them.
This morning, Post Oak faculty and staff are aware that our students will arrive with different levels of awareness of the incident. Our youngest ones may be oblivious and eager to engage in their environment, friends, and teachers. We will provide a routine day for them. Older students will likely know about the incident and have feelings and questions. As is developmentally appropriate, students may require the space to discuss, question, and hear what their peers think and feel. As children and young adults do, they will have been paying close attention to the adults in their lives and absorbing their reactions. As Montessori professionals, we are trained to observe and listen, and we will put those skills to work.
As parents, reading about this tragedy is gut-wrenching, and taking care of ourselves and our feelings is the first and most important task so that we can be present for our children. Be aware of your feelings, and give yourself the time to process too. This is difficult to discuss with your children, and I share what our teachers have been given and how they will approach students, should you find it helpful.
Focus on the students’ well-being and create a safe space for them to share their thoughts and feelings as needed. In our Montessori fashion, we allow the students to lead the conversation adding guidance. We listen more than we talk. These steps align with how we approach discussions in our Montessori classroom and mirror the simple process from Learning for Justice. We will answer their questions and know it is okay to say, “I don’t know.” Allow for different kinds of processing: writing, art-making, movement and mindfulness, and reflection questions.
As a parent, you may find the following resources helpful:
This shooting took place close to the time we were in our all-school assembly yesterday. Our moment of joy and celebration was a gift for us and our students and one we should never take for granted.
I am grateful for your trust in Post Oak to care for your children.
Maura Joyce | Head of School