On August 28,1963, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his most famous speech, “I Have a Dream.”

As educators and parents, we have an important role in contextualizing disturbing world events like the recent violent takeover of our country’s capitol. After a year of challenge after challenge, this will require reaching into our deepest reserves of energy and resilience. But we must do what we can to provide a sense of understanding and stability amid chaos. We are obligated to take an active role in building a healthier, more just future.

From the time we are in the womb through our elderly years, touch plays a primary role in our development and physical and mental well-being.

There is a palpable feeling of uneasiness as we find ourselves in the final moments of a contentious presidential election, while continuing to navigate the fallout of the ongoing pandemic. Even with our best efforts to shield our concerns from our children, they feel it.

The Friday before Halloween, we had a lively campus full of creative costumes, storytelling, decorating pumpkins, pizza, candy, and a high school scavenger hunt! Enjoy this short Halloween video.

Continuing with what has become a yearly tradition, elementary and middle school Spanish teacher Eva has created a colorful Día de los Muertos altar by the Main House. This week, students have decorated sweets to add to the altar and are also placing photos there of loved ones who have passed away. Also displayed is student artwork created in commemoration of this tradition.

Why does Oak Grove have so many rocking chairs around campus? The benefits of rocking chairs are not just for lulling infants to sleep or helping the elderly gently relax. All people benefit from rocking. Research shows that the rocking motion engages the parasympathetic nervous system and releases endorphins to self-regulate the brain state.

The California Department of Public Health approved our COVID-19 mitigation plans to allow in-person instruction for our high school and middle school students.

As we enjoy our three-day weekend, it is important to think about what it is we commemorate and celebrate on Indigenous Peoples Day. Historically, Americans have not learned much that is authentic about the people who lived on these lands before, during, and after the arrival of the Europeans, and we seek to change this narrative at Oak Grove.

The 2020 Peace Day Universal Declaration, as set forth by the United Nations, reads: “Everyone has the right to life, liberty, and security of person.” Rather than holding an all-school event on our campus, as we have done in previous years, over the last week our teachers have been celebrating this year’s Peace Day within the classroom curriculum. Although an anti-bias curriculum is woven throughout everyday learning at Oak Grove, teachers are dedicating more explicit time to anti-bias activities and discussions.

Our anti-bias approach to curriculum aligns with Krishnamurti’s directive to examine our own conditioning. Given the depth and complicated nature of the problem, looking at how we (I) actively engage in image-making, biases, and prejudices, it takes courage and vulnerability to confront these issues in an educational setting.

The idea is not that we rid ourselves of biases, which is likely not possible, but for each of us to understand our own thinking. We must understand our own conditioning, how our own biases, our own image-making, contributes to conflict, to the suffering of others.

For children to grow aware of, even resistant to, conditioning, they must feel safe and understood. They must be able to ask practical and perennial questions alike, engage in rigorous intellectual explorations, and nurture the awareness of being sensitive to the world outside them, as well as the world within. Once we understand our own thinking, we are able to see how that thinking can unconsciously guide our actions.

As eloquently stated by John Lewis, “We in the movement decided to actualize our belief that the hatred we experienced was not based on any truth, but was actually an illusion in the minds of those who hated us.” Without justice there can be no peace.

See what Krishnamurti has said about image-making.