Posted on Nov 15, 2010
November 11, 2010
Thursday through Saturday of last week, one teacher from each of our early childhood classrooms (Rooms 1-6), a kindergarten teacher, and I traveled to Anaheim for the annual conference of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The conference is the largest gathering of ages 2-8 educators in the world, attended by more than 15,000 teachers and administrators and offering close to 900 workshops and lectures. Topics included (just to name a few!):
- curriculum-specific subject areas (e.g., music, art, P.E., technology, and science)
- appreciation of nature and outdoor education
- diversity and equity
- bridging relationships between home and school
- health and safety
- teaching philosophies (Waldorf, Reggio Emilia, etc.).
Gillispie attendees, having participated in more than 110 sessions, appreciated the chance to share our discoveries during lunches and dinners with each other over the three days. All of us are looking forward to sharing our knowledge back at school–to socialize insights with faculty, students, and parents alike.
As Thanksgiving approaches, I am mindful that it’s unprecedented for Gillispie to be able to take a team of eight to learn together at the
flagship conference for our field. The Endowment for Excellence in Teaching makes learning journeys like this possible, and for that I am grateful.
Head of School
Posted on Nov 15, 2010
November 4, 2010
As parents, our children’s social lives can be a source of both happiness and worry. Does my child have enough friends, the right friends, a best friend? If there is a social conflict, should I talk to the kids, to the parents, or to the school?
Seeking answers to these and other questions about peer relations, Gillispie’s teachers read this summer Dr. Michael Thompson and Catherine O’Neill Grace’s book Best Friends, Worst Enemies: Understanding the Social Lives of Children. The book offers much insightful information to teachers and parents about helping our youngsters develop healthy peer relationships from preschool through twelfth grade.
Dr. Thompson reminds us that the secure attachment of a child to his/her parents in early life informs each person’s interactions with individuals and groups throughout life. Although the entire book is worth reading, Dr. Thompson summarizes his advice to parents in the final chapter. Thompson shares:
–Don’t worry so much. Remember that you gave [are giving] your child a sociable start in life.
–Recognize the crucial difference between friendship and popularity. Friendship is more important.
–Support children’s friendships.
–Make your child’s friends welcome in your home.
–Be a good friendship role model and teacher.
–Provide a wide range of friendship and group opportunities.
–Make friends with the parents of your child’s friends (and enemies).
–Empathize with your child’s social pain, but keep it in perspective. When listening to your child’s stories of the day, “Don’t interview for pain, don’t nurture resentments, and don’t hold on to ancient history. Kids don’t. Why should you?”
–Know where your child stands in the group. If your child is in trouble socially, step in to help. If your child is popular or accepted, help him or her be a positive moral leader. Don’t act like a middle schooler yourself.
–Take the long view. “The vast majority of children cope with the rigors of their social life with humor, resilience, and wisdom.” Enjoy your privilege as their parents to share the journey.
Please let us know what you think about the relevance of this topic to your child’s development; the book raises many important issues and the conversation is ongoing.
Grades 5 and 6 Math Teacher