In 1985 Janet Daijogo joined MCDS to teach kindergarten in the Sequoia Room. She was already an experienced educator with a deep commitment to helping young children become their best selves and mindfully navigate relationships and life’s challenges. In addition to her professional expertise, Janet brought her own cultural heritage, interests, and life experiences.
It was a happy accident that in a casual conversation with division head Kathleen Jackson, Janet mentioned her practice of aikido. Kathleen’s immediate, enthusiastic response was, “You should teach aikido to the children.” She secured funds to purchase mats for the gym stage so that Sequoia kids could get started. Word spread and soon parents of other kindergartners were saying, “What about our kids?” Parents pitched in to buy enough mats for the entire grade and the aikido sessions moved to the Multi-Purpose Room.
Over many years the aikido program developed its own MCDS flavor and became foundational to social practices both inside and outside the classroom. “Center as you enter” became shared vocabulary and percolated throughout the grades. The practice became known as Energy Time (ET) and led to the flowering of Mindfulness and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) as key components of an MCDS education.
Behind it all is Janet — loving children as they are and as they will be, ready to listen, share a smile, acknowledge an accomplishment. To recognize the many wonderful ways she has impacted generations of MCDS students and the overall health of our community, the Board of Trustees has established the Mindfulness Fund in honor of Janet Daijogo. This fund recognizes Energy Time/Mindfulness/Social Emotional Learning as core to our work with families, and will support this work in perpetuity.