By Kate McElvaney, Director of Educational Advancement and the Center for Progressive Learning
How do we know if our child is “successful?” Is it winning a trophy in a soccer tournament? Is it scoring in the 99th percentile on a standardized test? Tangible accolades are certainly markers of achievement, but are they indicators of future success as adults? And are they the only ways we want to measure our children’s success?
Noted psychologist and author Dr. Madeline Levine, who will speak at High Meadows on November 3rd as part of our Center for Progressive Learning‘s Speaker Series, has grappled with these very questions. Dr. Levine contends that society’s current view of success over-focuses on academic success and over-achievement to the detriment of the development of the whole child. In her latest book, Teach Your Children Well: Why Values and Coping Skills Matter More Than Grades, Trophies, or “Fat Envelopes,” she issues a call to action: “We must embrace a healthier and radically different way of thinking about success.”
Dr. Levine’s work resonates strongly with us at High Meadows because it supports the values and skills we hold dear. For example, Dr. Levine views children as “works in progress” who need to develop important coping skills such as resilience, resourcefulness, and creativity. She believes we must teach our children to take action in their communities: “Authentic success is being ‘the best me I can be’ not simply in isolation, but as a part of a community, and it always includes a component of meaningful contribution and connection with others.” High Meadows supports children’s sense of social justice and empowers them to become active participants in their communities. We teach our children to find solutions on their own rather than solving problems for them.
So what does success look like at High Meadows? Read further to see how our teachers define “success” in their classrooms and how they foster resourcefulness, creativity, and resilience in their students.