At about this time last year, as Grier was adjusting to the full days of Kindergarten, my wife and I started to notice she was irritable in the afternoons and seemingly small things going wrong - an errant scribble on a drawing or an interruption of any sort - would set her off. This being our oldest child and our first time navigating school from the parent side, we reached out to her Kindergarten teacher. In a very loving, very forthright discussion, we learned this was totally normal because it meant Grier was working hard in school to be the best student she could be, and when she came home she needed to decompress. These outbursts were developmentally appropriate manifestations of this need. Would we have loved a perfectly behaved daughter from morning to night? Of course. Did we feel relieved to know this was perfectly normal and something all families dealt with from time to time? Absolutely.
It was at this moment I realized that not only were the ten years Grier will be spending at Harding Academy going to be the most formative learning years of her life, but that these would also be the most formative parenting years of Mackenzie’s and my lives. Utilizing the expertise of her teachers and their insight to help shape the way we are raising our children and leaning on the families in her grade to further support and inform our approach is an incredibly valuable outcome of the Harding Academy experience.
This approach to parent education is a critically important component of the Harding Academy whole child philosophy. It allows community-building in a fast paced world, where parents and teachers connect to share their parenting concerns, discoveries, and successes in multiple forums. It allows our faculty and staff to share years of experience and observation from working with the unique developmental challenges of each grade level, and provides a human connection in an increasingly digital world.
So to further develop this key belief, we are launching The Insight Series, a new parent education program at Harding Academy. The Insight Series operates around four guiding principles:
Our approach to parent education comes from a position of empathy, in understanding that today’s world is increasingly fast-paced and complex.
We will strive to model what we know as educators about how people learn via the resources, communications, digital presence, and events we offer as part of The Insight Series.
We will work to underpin events in The Insight Series with the opportunity for our parents to connect socially, thus deepening the bonds that support our children’s growth.
We want the content of The Insight Series to be informed by parents and educators alike.
Over the next weeks and months, The Insight Series will leverage our existing communication avenues such as The Weekly Review and Compass Connection, our social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and CompassNet to provide parent education content that is concise and easily consumable. This parent education content will remain mission-driven and focused on the social-emotional and developmental needs of children, with an eye to providing insight around the essential question of “What does it mean to raise good kids who will come of age in 2040?”
Additionally, as part of The Insight Series, we will be initiating a speaker series that will revolve around the developmental needs of children AND offer an opportunity for our families to connect socially. Coinciding with our ever popular Pursuit Night Out (formerly Boys and Girls Night Out) evenings, we will offer an hour-long parent education presentation from 6:30 - 7:30 PM. If you sign up and attend one of these sessions, your child(ren) eligible for Pursuit Night Out can attend for free. We know you all like to have parent nights out with each other - why don’t you all start with us (we’ll provide gnosh and drinks), learn with us, and then head on together and let us watch the kids?
On October 19, during our first Pursuit Night Out, we will host our first speaker of The Insight Series. Stay tuned for more information on the presenter and topic for this event, but feel free to go ahead and make those social plans now. Next week (and on September 4 for grades K, 5 to 8) at Back to School Night, we will be asking for your input on topics into which you’d like more understanding. Our Counseling team of Rebecca Igleheart and Amy Gartenberg are leading The Insight Series and will be working to develop the content. You can expect to hear from them soon with more details around our speakers and events related to parent education.
Our hope is that The Insight Series will serve as a cherished resource as families and Harding work together to develop thoughtful, creative, lifelong learners and self-disciplined, responsible, caring citizens.