What are some of your most memorable learning experiences growing up? A field trip to the zoo? Dissecting a frog? Getting messy during a big art project? My guess is most of the things that made an impact on you as a child, or teenager, did not involve sitting at your desk or in front of a computer.
Smartphones . . . they have quickly become an unquestioned and pervasive extension of the countless new technologies that have changed our world exponentially over the past two decades. In a recent conversation with a Board member at my school, I appreciated his comparison of our age to that of the late 1800’s when American life changed forever with the introduction of electricity. In his words, “Electricity touched everything; in the same way today, technology touches everything.” We are directly and constantly connected to information and to others, making many daily tasks and interactions easier. Truly, it is an exciting epoch in which to be alive; as an adult, it is an equally humbling charge to shepherd the next generation from childhood to adulthood in an age so vastly different than the one in which we were raised.
Talk to me about your Middle School experience. What do you remember? In what significant ways did you grow as a Middle Schooler?
The general narrative proliferated by adults and popular media in the U.S. is that the Middle School years represent the worst and most challenging stage of human development. Some hyperbolically reference the lingering post-traumatic stress they experience to this day when they call to mind their personal journeys through “the middle years.” Others recall uncomfortable feelings of insecurity, compounded further by the cruelty of peers wrestling through their own struggles with confidence and self-image.
Growing up we are all told that if you want to become the President of the United States that you can. Being the President of the United States was not something that I ever thought about, nor was it something that I thought I would be well suited for. However, out of nowhere, my chance to be the President of the United States happened (well, sort of).
One of the most common questions that I am asked, as a school nurse, is how can sports related injuries, concussions in particular, be prevented? With every generation it seems that level of play and competition has increased, resulting in more injuries. Are
these injuries and concussions happening more frequently or have we become more adept at diagnosing them? With about 46.5 million children participating in sports in the United States, it is estimated that there are approximately 3.8 million concussions that occur every year; however only 1 out of 6 will be formally diagnosed and treated, so we clearly still have a long way to go.
It is common knowledge that frequent injuries and concussions occur in high risk sports, such as soccer and football, but they can occur anywhere and you may be surprised at how gentle of a hit to the head can result in a concussion and injury. You add to that the increase in our young athletes' level of play and skill set, growth spurts causing muscles and ligaments to stretch to the point of injury, and it makes sense why we seem to have an increase in sports related injuries and concussions. It may surprise you to know that approximately 60% of all injuries occur during practice and the most common injuries are muscle sprains and tears, growth plate fractures and heat related illness. Here are some things that can be done to prevent these injuries and concussions.
As the Head of a school that enrolls four year olds through fourteen year olds, I am often asked “Why do you end in middle school? How does this serve children differently from other school models?” These questions have opened the door to many valuable discussions about the benefits of a school that culminates in 8th Grade. I witness the value of a PreK-8th Grade program in our classrooms and in the interactions between our students, faculty and parents every day, but with all the different educational options available to families, why should you consider sending your child to a PreK (or Kindergarten) through 8th Grade school?