7380 Girard Avenue, La Jolla

Gillispie School / Elementary  / Preparing Children for a Future that is Increasingly Lived Online

Preparing Children for a Future that is Increasingly Lived Online

At Gillispie, we recognize the importance of preparing children for a future that is increasingly lived online. We give students opportunities to research, communicate, and create using online tools across the curriculum and across grade levels.

As children develop these important skills, they must also develop the ability to protect themselves and to behave appropriately while online. Digital citizenship is a recurring theme throughout Gillispie’s program in Media Literacy classes and in any other class where online tools are used.

This school-based focus is essential, but not sufficient when it comes to preparing children for healthy online lives. Parental involvement plays a major role in developing kids who thrive in the digital world. It is so important for parents to become digitally savvy and for them to understand both the ways their children interact with the online world and the ways they can help protect their children from common pitfalls.

To help parents navigate this sometimes difficult task, Gillispie offers an array of resources for parents. Recently, parent Chad McManamy hosted an evening program designed to help parents understand the digital footprint they and their children create, as well as some of the possible dangers they could face. The workshop led to conversations about topics ranging from posting pictures on Facebook to the apps your tween children will likely soon begin using. Chad will also be coming in to speak directly to our oldest students about these issues.

To view Chad’s slides, complete with a list of resources for parents, please click here.

Our Media Literacy Specialists, Laura Moore and Heidi Long, also offer an array of parent resources. Please see the below from Ms. Long:

You may already be familiar with Common Sense Media, the nonprofit group dedicated to helping parents, teachers, and kids make informed choices about media consumption. Like many busy parents, I often check CSM before I approve books and movies for my kids. But did you know that CSM can also help you learn more about educational apps, games, and websites?

Their Best for Learning List boasts thorough reviews which include overall ratings, age recommendations, content warnings, and detailed descriptions. While most of the tools on these lists focus on building academic skills, CSM also recommends digital tools that promote empathy, social responsibility, and community service. Lists can be sorted by age group, and all of the recommended apps, games, and sites have been selected for their ability to engage children.

If you’re looking for a new digital learning option for your child, or you want to find out more about a tool your child is interested in, take a look at this extensive resource from a reliable source.

Finally, we would like to recommend the book Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World by Devorah Heitner, Ph.D. for realistic advice on thoughtfully guiding your kids in the digital age. Both Ms. Fleming and I have copies of this book, so please feel free to borrow it from either of us.

Jon Bluestein
Assistant Head of School


About Gillispie School: Gillispie is an independent toddler through Grade 6 school in La Jolla, CA. We believe that learning is a journey in which children are active participants. Our students partner with teachers to further their academic, creative, and social growth, and we balance a child-centered approach that does not rush childhood with well-researched academic programs that demand higher-level thinking. Click here to learn more about our school.

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