Digital Citizenship

February 10, 2021

It is incredible how technology is continuously evolving at an unimaginable pace, and how not only we, as adults are able to follow this evolution, but also our children. With this evolution, there are opportunities and risks which young people are not ready to deal with.

EARJ students use the internet and mobile technology to explore, connect, share, collaborate and learn every single day of our academic year. While this is something wonderful, using all this technology can create some ethical issues such as cyberbullying, misinformation, and health issues related to media balance and social-emotional wellbeing.

From February 8th-12th, EARJ celebrates the Digital Citizenship Week, where students will have a full week of activities with resources that teach students, educators, and parents tangible skills related to internet safety, protecting online reputations and personal privacy, media balance, managing online relationships, and media literacy.

EARJ is committed to teaching our students how to be digital learners, leaders, and citizens, as we believe that digital citizenship skills have become essential for them, especially over the past year. We firmly believe that with the right support, our students can structure their digital lives, engage with real issues, and help change our community for better.

I would also like to take the time to congratulate our faculty and staff for making the Digital Citizenship Week possible, embracing it as an important part of their student’s education, and for preparing them on using technology safely and responsibly, providing them with lifelong habits to help our students succeed in a tech-driven world.

Carlos Eduardo Pinho
Director of Educational Technology

Building a Home

February 3, 2021

The start of a new semester is a perfect time to reflect on and review strategies for student success in hybrid learning. Whether your family has chosen to attend school online or on campus, one of the most important steps you can take is establishing consistent expectations and routines around school life.

At EARJ, we incorporate a daily asynchronous learning block into our hybrid model for Lower School students. This means that students complete learning activities outside of school, at their own pace, and with flexibility and choice.

This is a really important component of the full picture of planned learning. It helps students to develop key skills that complement classroom learning, whether in preparation, practice, or extension of their learning in the classroom.

Last week, our teachers reflected on feedback from parent and student surveys on asynchronous learning. We thought about how to balance screen time and technology-based learning with hands-on, interactive experiences that fit students’ interests and learning needs.  We considered solutions to support parents with asynchronous learning that take into account family needs.


Here are some simple but important principles that we hope will help families with asynchronous learning at home:

1. Establish an agreed upon regular home routine

It may seem obvious but it is so important. Agree on expectations with your child and create a routine at home for completing each day’s learning that works for both of you. Setting up a special workspace and organizing a schedule with breaks (and snacks!) each day will support your child to be successful.

2. Motivate through opportunities for problem-solving & creativity

Even our youngest students can develop problem-solving skills and independence, but they need help. The younger the child, the more you need to support them. If you show enthusiasm for the activity your child will love it!

3. Time together is priceless!

Asynchronous learning can be challenging, but it is also a real opportunity. It is a chance for parents to gain insights about how your child learns and what content is being covered.  This parent-child connection not only supports academics but also social-emotional well-being and overall success. We know that this is not always easy for working parents, but the benefits are amazing if you can find a time to do it.

4. Celebrate and praise

Children love feedback and praise – we all do! Try to showcase what your child does at home. When parents put their child’s drawings on the refrigerator door, or share photos of them doing school work at home on your family’s Facebook page, the message you are sending to your child is “We love that you’re learning!”.

5. Connect the dots

Kids can be incredibly perceptive. Ask them how what they are doing at home connects to what they are doing during synchronous lessons, be they online or on campus. When we connect the dots it helps us to reinforce our learning – and kids are awesome at this.

It has become increasingly clear that hybrid learning is here to stay… at least for a while.  We understand that for busy families this means continuing to navigate to the various demands of students learning part-time at home: parental commitment, English language support, managing multiple children, and keeping student motivation high (just to name a few!). We are committed to continuing to work together to support students by creating solid partnerships with families. We thank every EARJ parent for their participation and feedback and encourage families to continue to reach out to teachers to ensure a successful semester of hybrid learning.

Resources for Parents:

Blended Learning in the Mix: The Informed Parent

8 Tips to Help Children Enjoy Hybrid or Virtual Learning

8 Tips to Help Your Child Focus and Stay Engaged During Distance Learning

Kirstin White
Barra Lower School Principal

Make gratitude and appreciation a habit

December 1, 2020

Aristotle once said, “Happiness depends upon ourselves”, but the question is: how do we reach happiness without being grateful?

He pointed out the relationship between human dignity, “the best of us” and gratitude. That relationship teaches us that a mere thank you is not only that, it’s uniquely tied to the giving of one-self. With this in mind, I have come to the conclusion that it’s important we continue to enforce a culture of gratitude and appreciation around us. Being thankful is such a beautiful and powerful quality as we navigate in this tumultuous world.

It should be noted that being happy or being thankful does not depend on your economic status, or how many friends you have and it certainly doesn’t mean being dependent on electronics or even the most recent gadget. It can start as a small seed of appreciation and grow into a life leading direction that will allow ourselves to be grateful when we take the time to reflect on the moments, relationships and stories that truly shape our lives, and we give back a sense of peace and loving gratitude to our families, communities, and the world.

Gratitude means learning to appreciate the hard times because these moments that make the good ones feel even better. This mindset will give you the courage, the spirit, and the strength that allow you to get through challenging times and shape the person you are today. I believe that reflection, and being thankful should happen every day, but specially on these days, we have a shared opportunity to thoughtfully and collectively push our ‘thanks’ beyond our normal circles. So now, take a moment to reflect about what you’re thankful for.

Thankfulness is something that is personal and controllable. What are you thankful for?

I am thankful for:

  • My family, the love, support that comes with that structure. Thankful for my friends, who accept but challenge me to grow and become a better person.

  • The people who fight for the health of others. Those that fight for love, equity and inclusion of all people. Those who see both successes and setbacks in the next step in their journey.

  • Our nurses, staff, workers, IT team, faculty and leaders for making EARJ a school that cares about the immediate needs, safety and future of our children, and I am thankful for the amazing professionals that I get to work alongside and learn from.

  • The love and kindness of our students and community, which is expressed in actions that show gratitude and appreciation for those in need. They are tutoring, helping animal shelters, sewing face masks for people in Rocinha, organizing toy and food drives for the coming holidays, raising funds for our workers, and continuing to work consistently in many community service initiatives.

  • And of course, thankful for our Panther MUN delegates for their fantastic accomplishments this semester and for our student athletes that during this semester practiced sports and competed virtually with great results for our school. They became the champions in 4 out of the 5 sports, with the largest participation of all the participating schools.

What are you thankful for? Thanks to everyone reading this article, who in many ways, large and small, can, has and will continue to change other’s lives showing others your appreciation. For that, I am thankful.

Claudia Araya
Athletics & Activities Director