Our Wildwood, Winter 2017, Volume 40

Wildwood endeavors to conduct its parent education program in a way that mirrors the progressive pedagogy of its teachers. A Wildwood education is based on research that shows students take consistent intellectual risks when they feel safe. To build this safety, Wildwood created the Habits of Mind and Heart for the middle and upper schools, the Life Skills for the elementary school, and an advisory MIDDLE SCHOOL PARENT COFFEE: TRANSITIONING INTO UPPER SCHOOL Parents of middle schoolers have the opportunity to learn about what’s to come in upper school, from curriculum to co-curriculars. MINDFULNESS COFFEE WITH CHRIS Elementary school counselor Chris Kiefer highlights how Mindfulness is threaded throughout the curriculum, and provides techniques to employ at home. Here is a sampling of our spring parent ed. offerings: LORI GETZ A technology and cyber safety expert speaks with parents of 4th-8th graders. RICHARD LOUV Best-selling author and journalist, Richard Louv, explains how to nurture a “hybrid mind.” ED BACON Author, activist, and retired pastor speaks about equity and justice, race, and what we do in a community to serve the common good. COFFEE WITH CHRIS: BODY IMAGE Parents learn about body image language that elementary school counselor Chris Kiefer uses when working with students. BOOK GROUP WITH AUTHOR REGINA PALLY A discussion of Pally’s recently-released and approachable guide: The Reflective Parent: How to Do Less and Relate More with Your Kids. SAFETY EXPERT CHRIS JOFFE Wildwood’s consultant reviews and answers questions about the school’s extensive safety programs.

to hear directly from other parents that what [my wife] Jenn and I struggle with are many of the same issues as everyone else.” Then he jokingly added, “Misery loves company.” “We do not learn from experience, we learn by reflecting on experience,” goes the quote commonly attributed to John Dewey. And so it is with parents. Through listening and observing other parents’ misery and glorious moments, parents can hold a mirror up to their own misery and glorious moments with their children. Every day, parents parent, often without time to hit the pause button. It is when parents connect that insights and aha moments emerge. Parent education becomes an intellectual and emotional oxygen mask for moms and dads. By taking care of themselves as parents, they can more effectively guide their children’s social, emotional, and intellectual development—especially when the ride’s bumpy. Whether it’s coffee with one of the counselors, a WWPO (Wildwood Parent Organization) summit to hear about child and adolescent development from faculty, or a parent book group, the power of these experiences comes down to “I am not alone.” In the 2015–2016 school year, the middle school coffee series was introduced to increase parent-to-parent connectivity. WWPO Co-President Laurie Zerwer reflected, “The coffees are a great parent bonding experience. They also helped me feel closer to my child at a time when, developmentally, he is seeking greater independence.” Teenagers individuating can trigger myriad feelings in

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parents. The range of these feelings is wide— disillusionment, sadness, even acceptance. When parents experience and support and context from their school and parent community. Early in the parenthood journey, moms and dads often join baby groups to discuss the ins and outs of breast-feeding, sleep training, and attachment philosophy. Participation in groups tends to share these feelings, they receive needed

dissipate as kids age—ironically just as parenting gets more complicated and nuanced. Wildwood parent education brings back the notion of a “Mommy and Me” class—that by sharing, creating community, and offering tips of best practice, our kids will thrive and we will, too.

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