April 20, 2021

My grandad, born in 1903 and raised in the interior of the State of Rio, was a self-taught man. Being a farmer, a businessman, and a politician in the region, he was not only amazing with relationships and numbers, but also an avid reader. He loved all kinds of books: poems, crimes, novels. As he got older and started to face health struggles, he would ask other people to read for him.

So one given day when I was 11, he intentionally handed me a book to read him a poem, a poem that he loved. It was a portuguese translation of the poem “If”, by Rudyard Kipling. I did not understand much while I was reading it; so after I finished, he patiently guided me through it. I liked it so much that I wrote the poem in a piece of paper and took it home with me.

As my life went by, I would eventually read it again. No matter how many times I read it, I would always relate to or learn something new from it. I don´t think my grandad could have ever left me a greater heritage, as it has empowered me and supported me through so many times in my life.

He never spoke English or visited a different country other than Brazil. But he had books to transport him to the whole world, through his own eyes. As there is no such thing as one story, one character, one poem. Two people will never have the same vision, like movies for instance, where you see and hear everything, and just have to process it. The perspective of a story, the challenges set by a poem, the way a character looks in a book read by a farmer in a tropical country may be completely different from someone living on the other side of the globe with different social, geographical, and cultural realities. Books read by the same person in different times of their lives may differ. A lot. And that is the magic of books.

On April 23rd we celebrate “World Book Day”. How about reading a simple story to your child without pictures or drawings, asking him/her to keep their eyes closed and describe the scenario, the character, the light, the smells… you can do the same, and then you will have fun comparing the two outcomes!

PS: I learned in the EARJ International week that “If” has consistently been voted as Britain’s favourite poem… so here’s the poem, with the translation in Portuguese that my grandfather presented me “a few” years ago. A big thank you to Rudyard Kipling and all the writers of this planet.

IF – By Rudyard Kipling

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

SE… – Rudyard Kipling

Se puderes guardar o sangue frio diante de quem fora de si te acusar;
e, no instante em que duvidem de teu ânimo e firmeza,
tu puderes ter fé na própria fortaleza,
sem desprezar contudo a desconfiança alheia…

Se tu puderes não odiar a quem te odeia,
nem pagar com a calúnia a quem te calunia,
sem que tires daí motivos de ufania,
sonhar, sem permitir que o sonho te domine;
pensar, sem que em pensar tua ambição se confine,
e esperar sempre e sempre, infatigavelmente…

Se com o mesmo sereno olhar indiferente
puderes encarar a derrota e a vitória,
como embuste que são da fortuna ilusória,
e estóico suportar que intrigas e mentiras
deturpem a palavra honesta que profiras…

Se puderes, ao ver em pedaços destruída
pela sorte maldosa, a obra de tua vida,
tomar de novo, a ferramenta desgastada
e sem queixumes vãos, recomeçar do nada…

Se, tendo loucamente arriscado e perdido
tudo quanto era teu, num só lance atrevido,
tu puderes voltar à faina ingrata e dura,
sem aludir jamais à sinistra aventura…

Se tu puderes coração, músculos, nervos
reduzir da vontade à condição de servos,
que, embora exausto, lhe obedeçam ao comando…

Se, andando a par dos reis e com os grandes lidando,
puderes conservar a naturalidade,
e no meio da turba a personalidade;
impávido afrontar adulações, engodos,
opressões, merecer a confiança de todos,
sem que possa contar, todavia, contigo
incondicionalmente o teu melhor amigo…

Se de cada minuto os sessenta segundos
tu puderes tornar com o teu suor fecundos…

A Terra será tua, e os bens que se não somem,
e, o que é melhor, meu filho, então serás um Homem!

Cristina Conforto
Director of Advancement

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

Big Little Things

September 15, 2020

I recently heard a story about a young man who was taking an internship in the commercial area of a company. He really liked working there and learning about the business. The deals were very technical and would take weeks (sometimes months) to be closed. But every time someone in the team closed a deal, he/she would go to an old bell placed in the office to proudly ring it, under the “Bravo” words from the rest of the team.

Sadly, he was not able to manage both internship and academic responsibilities, and after a while he had to leave to focus on his studies. When he was saying goodbye to the team, he asked if he could ring the bell one last time, which he did, leaving the office in tears right after.

This story made me think about small motivations, little gestures, life expressions that help us build our character, that push us forward or at least help us go through difficult situations. Not rocket science, just popular sayings, traditions, either things that pass through generations, are part of a team celebration or just lines we randomly hear in a movie that stick to our heads throughout our journey, sending gentle reminders about values or even about goals we want to reach.

And how can we as parents influence these sayings or traditions in our kids, no matter if they are a “give me five”, lines of a poem or a bell ringing? 

I still remember when I was 11 and my grandfather asked me to read him the poem “If”, by Rudyard Kipling, explaining to me every line as I read; it has certainly guided me in many moments of my life and made me proud of myself everytime I followed Kipling’s/my grandfather’s advice. But what about Cinderella’s mom saying “Have courage and be kind”, or Thumper’s line on Bambi ” if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all”?

What about the memories of our parents or our teachers recognizing our accomplishments, making us feel so proud inside we could explode of happiness? What was the weight that these simple words and celebrations had on the person I became, and values that pushed me to follow my dreams in life?

So, here’s a thing: in case you have never done this exercise, I invite you to sit together with your kids to write down post-its with things you cherish or just things you like to share in your own family, stick them all on the fridge and end with a special celebration of your own… Promise it will feel great!

Last, but not least… We have a bell of our own at EARJ that used to toll for our Panthers at the Leblon campus, and we now ring it every time there’s a new family joining us!

Cristina Conforto
Director of Advancement