Each week, we will be posting about pertinent articles on educational and school-related topics, how they relate to Engaging Minds students (and parents!), and how to apply this information to your child(ren). We will also be posting original content pertaining specifically to the Engaging Minds approach and philosophy with tips on how to improve and enhance your child(ren)’s learning experience.
Our hope for this blog is to make it a valuable resource for parents. To that end, if you read any interesting articles or have any suggestions for topics, please feel free to email Dan Levine at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, please comment on posts in the section below with your own input, ideas, and experiences. While we can’t promise we will be able to use all of your suggestions, we would very much appreciate your contributions and thoughtfulness!
On September 14, the popular NPR show “This American Life” did their annual Back to School episode. Rather than sticking to the traditional “three R’s,” host Ira Glass and guest Paul Tough (education reporter and author of the book How Children Succeed) focused on non-cognitive skills which Glass defines as “qualities like tenacity, resilience, impulse control – soft skills [or] character.”
The learning from the research Parker-Pope references is very straightforward: by strengthening students’ executive function skills early in their academic careers (even in the preschool years), we can increase the likelihood that students will find success in school as they grow and mature. While most of our students at Engaging Minds are beyond the age range of children targeted in this article’s advice, the idea behind it remains a solid aspect of our approach to working with our students.
Danel DiVirgilio, the (sadly deceased) legendary Head of Lower School at the Hackley School in New York, used to end his annual Parent-Teacher nights in the same humorous way every year. After he’d shared all of the necessary logistical info with parents and before he’d send them off to their children’s classrooms, Dan would say the following:
For the past few years, a national school and office supply chain has run a delightful ad campaign about going back to school. A mother is seen ecstatically skipping through the store with her cart while her kids morosely trail behind her, all to the tune of “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” While there is no question that the commercial is amusing, it actually highlights the ambiguity that many feel in late August, as the start of the new school year looms large.
Last month, New Yorker magazine published an article with the rather incendiary title “Spoiled Rotten: Why Do Kids Rule the Roost?” While this introduction to a very important topic may seem somewhat off-putting, the information contained within was actually very applicable to the students that Engaging Minds seeks to help.