Dr. Gereboff's Head Notes
Today was a day filled with excitement and joy. Children posed for first day of school pictures. There were hugs and smiles as parents, children and staff greeted one another this morning. When each teacher was introduced at the whole-school assembly, students broke out in loud cheering and clapping, and when Mr. King began to strum his guitar, all our students began singing with great abandon. It felt a little like opening day at AT&T Park – on a much smaller scale.
As I reflected on these moments, I kept thinking about the growing study of positive emotions in the field of psychology. The research in this area posits that experiencing positive emotions (gratitude, joy, inspiration, etc.) is fundamental to human growth and health. Increasing one’s experience of positive emotions leads to heightened relationship satisfaction and increased resilience when confronting inevitable stressful life events. The Greater Good Center at Berkeley offers insight into these processes.
Psychologists note that we can increase our experience of positive emotions. This all fits in nicely with the work that we do at school about growth mindsets. According to the positive emotions theorists, people are not simply victims of circumstances, but can learn to interpret some ordinary and some negative circumstances in positive ways.
One of the practices encouraged by this emerging field of study is that of writing down at the end of each day three things that happened for which one is grateful. The claim is that by making this a practice, one’s perspective on life can shift in beneficial ways. In that spirit, I am grateful today for the following:
A school full of enthusiastic, joyous children
An engaged, energetic and thoughtful staff
Parents, children and staff who come to together in celebration of education
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