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  Santa Cruz Parent Santa Cruz, CA

January 9, 2014


Creativity Flourishes at Independent Schools

Christine : Too Much Praise is Bad for Kids with Low Self-Esteem

Lorraine: "Re-Parent Yourself"
This Week
Second Saturday on the Farm
Click to view our Business Directory
 

(Photos General) MountMadonna_dancer.jpgI enjoy reading about successful education programs.  I used to think I knew the best and only way to achieve this for my own children and all the children who passed through my classrooms.  Looking back, I believe it was good that I was so passionate about excellence.  It worked well for many children. 

Today I find myself far more open to different approaches.  Why?  There has been an astonishing amount of research into how brains function, the science of teaching and the styles and intricacies of learning.  This has led to more options for families and consequently more responsibility on the part of parents to research what is the best learning environment for each of our children.

A good way to do this research is to attend the Independent School Fair on Wednesday, January (Photos General) Roseblossom_StarryNightKids.jpg15, 6-8pm, at the Holy Cross Parish Hall.  Always check our newsletter School Corner for open houses.  All schools --public, parochial, private and home schooling programs-- are welcome to join Santa Cruz Parent and promote school events in our calendar and newsletters.  Read articles posted on the Facebook page of Independent Schools of the California Central Coast.

We asked the schools which are putting on the Independent School Fair to send us a short paragraph on one unique, creative program at their schools.  The variety is delightful and gives us a glimpse into cutting edge educational programs.

Throughout the ages there have been many parents and teachers who understand the rule of thumb about doling out praise judiciously and appropriately.  Christine brings us scientific proof that this approach is sound.  Do you think the same approach applies to criticism?

Parmalee

Photos: Mount Madonna student in dance performance, Roseblossom School students creating Starry Night inspired by Van Gogh

 

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  Creativity Flourishes at Independent Schools

(Photos General) Chartwell_Nakoda.jpgChartwell School Wind Festival: Making Learning a Breeze - Last spring Chartwell hosted its Wind Festival, an exciting school-wide event that showcased the students' ingenuity and creativity in harnessing one of our most bountiful natural resources: wind!  Reflecting Chartwell's commitment to environmental education and hands-on learning, Chartwell faculty devised the Wind Festival to encourage students to explore sustainable energy in innovative and artistic ways. All students developed wind-powered projects to enter into the festival's many events, which included a wind-powered invention competition, parachute contest, sail car races, kite flying display, and wind-powered art exhibition. Chartwell families and friends joined the students, faculty and staff on a beautiful, breezy day in Seaside to watch our students put their creativity and imagination into play. It is these types of hands-on educational opportunities that help Chartwell students not only learn, but love to learn!

(Photos General) Gateway_Discovery.jpgIn the Discovery Center at Gateway School, students are using traditional and 21st century tools (3D printer, laser cutter and digital media software) to create, explore, research, innovate and collaborate on projects. This space affords the students opportunities to try their hand at designing and creating things collaboratively with their classmates. The learning lies in the process, as they come to understand that mistakes are truly learning opportunities and they problem solve ways of making things work.

At the Santa Cruz Waldorf School each grade incorporates age appropriate community service into that year's curriculum. Currently, our 3rd grade is learning about money and various forms of work, combining these two concepts our 3rd graders recently made items to sell to fellow students at the school from their "Class Store' by making items including wallets, ornaments, bracelets, treats, and more. All grades were invited to visit and shop. The class worked on math skills keeping tally of all of their own sales. In addition to learning, their 3rd grade "Class Store" raised $323 for Heifer International!

(Photos General) Merit_Electronics.jpgFor over two decades, Merit Academy has helped students get into best-fit colleges through the ProjectMERIT program. Students pick projects that reflect their passions and future aspirations. Examples of projects include starting businesses and non-profits, writing for publications, producing films, publishing their own books, and building high-tech devices such as hydrogen fuel cells. Through ProjectMERIT, students become independent thinkers, receive public recognition for their projects, and learn leadership skills that will last a lifetime!

Rose Blossom Pre-School and Kindergarten  is an Nonviolent Communication-based school with a focus on creating a peaceful and safe environment. Compassion and respectful relationships are the foundations for a fun and educational experience for the children. The Curriculum integrates music, art, creative drama, movement, (Photos General) Roseblossom_StarryNightMural.jpgbooks, games, nature, and manipulatives. In our study of planets and outer space, we had many "tools" to help us: a model of the solar system, posters, books, a huggable soft "ball" of the earth, as well as a globe with magnetic people stuck on it to demonstrate gravity. We had planets and the sun made out of paper mache, and the children performed a solar system song, in a show performed for their parents, in which they each were a planet or the sun or a star, and acted out the motion of planets orbiting the sun. The art teacher posted a print of Van Gogh's "The Starry Night", and as a class project, the children used paint and torn bits of paper and glue to create their own version of The Starry Night. The mural turned out so well, the Santa Cruz Sentinel did an article on it, and the children had the experience of being interviewed by a reporter while talking about their creation. The study of the solar system and outer space had connected each child to friends, family, the school community, the Santa Cruz community, the planets, and beyond!

Students at VHM Christian School have had a lot of experience with fundraisers that benefit the school and offer prizes for the students with the highest sales; but when they raise money for local or global charities, the students never ask about prizes. This year they raised $700 for the Philippines, and last year they raised $1300 for the Santa Cruz SPCA. For a little school, they have a big heart.

(Photos General) SpringHillSchoolAncientEgypt3.jpgFourth graders get your passport and hop into your time machine. Fourth grade at Spring Hill School is an adventure in the study of ancient civilizations. Not only is it the first year they learn Latin, but students have the unique opportunity to travel back in time throughout the year to study different ancient civilizations as part of our history program. Each month is focused on a different civilization such as Egypt, China or Rome. Students learn about the culture, art, language, government, inventions and foods of the time. Their month long study culminates into a wonderful celebration day at the end of each month. On that day students come to school in costume, act, play games, taste foods and celebrate each culture. It's a unique approach to teaching history and language that embraces many facets of cultures and helps them to come alive.

MCP in Santa Cruz serves diverse learners grades 6-12 in an open, compassionate academic environment that understands unique students and those with learning differences. Students overcome challenges and often experience success in school for the first time. "M", a girl with dyslexia, skipped 100 days of school before attending MCP; now she has 95% attendance and a high school GPA of 3.3. "S", a student with ASD, suffered from bullies, failing grades, and ineffective IEPs; she sang a solo in public this year, and now plans to go to a California university. The success of MCP is not just how we serve our students, but what our students achieve. MCP is a great place to learn.

(Photos General) Stevenson_Guitars3.jpgPre-Engineering at Stevenson. Through the National Science Foundation STEM Guitar Project, Stevenson School's Pre-Engineering students built their own custom electric guitar and learned how to relate the guitar design to specific math, science and engineering topics. Together with math, science and technology faculty, they designed and built guitars in one trimester--including body, neck, fret board selection and preparation, guitar customization and painting, headstock design, fretting, electronic installation, neck installation and setup, and intonation. At our biweekly all-school assembly, in front of more than 500 peers, students riffed "Smoke on the Water" by Deep Purple to a highly entertained, and impressed, crowd.

(Photos General) TaraRedwood_Knowledge3.jpgAt Tara Redwood School we teach our children some simple, practical skills that offer them a healthy foundation for a less stressful, happier life. By learning mindfulness practices and focusing on the wellbeing of others, they develop the wish and strength to become compassionate change makers.

At Georgiana Bruce Kirby, education is more than test scores, and loving to learn is not a social liability. A special program at the school is the Science and Technology Intensive Path (STIP) which provides a program of study for students wishing to pursue greater depth and contextual awareness in the fields of science, math, and technology. Students are expected to reach a high level of mastery in these areas and to ultimately pursue rigorous, college-level work. STIP students complete either an independent research project or an academic internship before they graduate. The STIP program includes a speaker series for students to learn from professionals in a math and science-related fields. Recent topics have been the computer gaming industry, water resources, migratory birds and climate change, dark matter and energy, and the mathematics of origami. One of these students, Chris Swenson '14, built an interactive web-application to measure pitch-matching capabilities. Chris received a first place in the county science fair in and from the US Navy; He also has been admitted early to Stanford University.

Every fall at Twin Lakes Christian School, we host an all-school, whole-family evening of fun, hands-on, explorative science during our annual Science Night. The entire teaching staff comes out and enjoys a dinner together with our families. Then everyone rotates through different science stations learning, exploring and enjoying many different facets of science including rocket building and launching, hot air balloon construction, squid dissection, CO2 racecars, and much more. It is such a wonderful evening of community building and hands-on learning fun!

COLLABORATION ~ CRITICAL THINKING ~ WORK ETHIC ~ BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW.  Monte Vista Christian School equips students with real-world knowledge and skills they need to thrive in college, career and life. Students' voices and thoughts matter as they work together to solve meaningful problems with powerful tools. Students love to learn at Monte Vista Christian and benefit from a Christ-centered, classical, and innovative educational environment.

(Photos General) MountMadonna_Culture.jpgThe Cultural Awareness program at Mount Madonna School (MMS) began more than two decades ago with the intent of introducing students to a variety of cultures through art, stories and performance and increasing their appreciation, knowledge and respect for others. Several months of classroom study culminate in a performance for the community, providing participating students (preschool through fifth grade) the opportunity to develop confidence, public speaking skills and experience the benefits of collaboration.   Each year elementary teachers discuss and select a world culture to be highlighted; recent cultures have included Japan, India, China, and in 2014, will focus on various Tribal Cultures.  "Through integrating the disciplines of social studies, science, language arts, visual arts, dance and music for our Cultural Awareness assembly," commented MMS Head of Lower School Supriya McDonald, "we are creating a powerful vehicle of direct learning experience that is evident in our students' performances."

(Photos General) York_Design.jpgCreative Problem-Solving Explored in Design Thinking Workshop.  York School's eighth grade class shifted into creativity overdrive during a two-hour workshop, WATCH+DESIGN, led by film producer, director, and former Wall Street Journal reporter Ralph King and lead facilitator Jennifer Lopez (formerly of Stanford's d.school and a member of Capital One's Innovation Lab team).   The introduction to design thinking prepared students to apply the creative process to solve real-life problems. Students were challenged to redesign an after school experience using four design steps: frame, imagine, make, test. They also viewed King's PBS documentary film, Extreme By Design, which chronicles the design process of graduate students enrolled in Stanford's (Photos General) GoodShepherd_CommunityOutreach.jpgDesign for Extreme Affordability course. Participants gained inspiration from students' experiences in the film and hands-on learning in a meaningful design process of their own. The workshop set the stage for several subsequent Design Thinking forums and workshops that continue to inspire students at York.

Community Service is the heart and soul of Good Shepherd Catholic School. Throughout their school year, students at Good Shepherd serve their community with several student-led charity initiatives. One event, in particular, the students in grades preschool through eighth grade participated in a Jog-a-Thon to raise money to help Erick Rivas, an 11 year-old boy in the community who had just been diagnosed with spinal cord cancer and was looking at a long, costly battle. In the one-day event at Good Shepherd, the students raised over $10,000 on to help Erick and his family in their fight against the cancer. At their Catholic School's Week Mass, Erick's mother was presented with the $10,000 check and was blessed by Bishop Garcia. In addition to the money, many prayers were said on Erick's behalf and nearly a year later Erick has been declared by his doctors almost cancer free. The school's outreach ministry is the heart of the Good Shepherd mission to develop moral leaders who serve all people with compassion and generosity.

 

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  Christine : Too Much Praise is Bad for Kids with Low Self-Esteem

(Photos General) ChristineSci_GregFrame.jpgSometimes too much praise can limit what a kid will do next. A new study looked at kids with low self esteem and high self esteem. The same praise was given to both kids. If a child was praised in what was considered an inflated manner, their behavior changed. Kids with high self esteem chose to do more difficult things, while kids with low self esteem chose to do easier things. Apparently they didn't want to lose the high praise.

Three studies are being published in Psychological Science on this issue. "Inflated" praise was defined as praise with adverbs or adjectives added such as "incredibly" or "perfect." Children were watched as they interacted with a parent. 

In one study, it was noted that parents give much more inflated praise to kids with low self esteem. In another study, over 200 kids drew a picture, and then received praise from someone identified as a professional painter. Some praise was inflated, some normal. The kids were then asked to choose another picture to draw, either easier or harder. They were told the harder picture would be harder and they would learn more and may make more mistakes. 

(Photos General) Christine_Praise.jpgKids with low self esteem who received inflated praise were more likely to choose an easier picture to draw than if they received normal praise. Kids with high self esteem were more likely to choose a harder picture if they received inflated praise.

There seems to be a push to "help" kids with low self esteem by giving them lots of praise. These studies seem to show that the wrong kind of praise can hinder the growth of these kids. An earlier study seemed to show that praising effort is a better motivator than praising talent.

This is important stuff. I want my little guy to be successful, and I want him to be successful because he does it himself. It is very hard for we parents to let our little ones fail at things that are so easy for us to do. We have to learn to step back and let them fail. And then be ready to clean up afterwards. Here is another place where we need to step back. 

Praise their effort, but don't pile it on. Just pile on the love and hugs. There can never be too many hugs.

http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/when-being-called-incredibly-good-is-bad-for-children.html

Christine is a local mom and scientist.  You can read more of Christine's science explanations here!

 

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  Lorraine: "Re-Parent Yourself"

(Photos General) LorrainePhoto.jpgThis month we move into the most crucial act to perform as parents- noticing our parenting style, connecting it to our own childhood, and loving ourselves like we were not loved by our parents: re-parenting. This is where we intercept our actions we are not proud of, trace them back to their roots and love that little girl or little boy we still are inside by giving them what s/he wants and needs right now. Simply ask him or her what they want, listen, then give it. You will be healed.

Even though it may seem strange, when we trace our pain back to the FIRST time we felt that particular brand of anger, frustration, hopelessness, helplessness, sadness, defeat back to the FIRST TIME we remember feeling it, we break the trance of the emotion driving us to crumble when stress mounts. But mostly when we ask our young self what they need and want from us now, then we give it (a hug, to be listened to, a walk, to be held, to be read a story, to play dolls or trucks) that little person who still lives in us gets slowly healed.

As we practice this, we will notice our inner little child grows and gets less needy and thus less likely to act out because it is acknowledged. This is real stuff. I'm not making it up. And if we don't do it, like forget to practice for a while, we notice ourselves emotionally careening out of control again. Just stop, hold our little child in our arms, take a nap with it and heal.

You are invited to text me your daily blessings at: (808) 936-4370. Try it, you'll feel good!  

Is this a challenge? Then let's chat. I have 2 spots open this week for 1:1 Feeling Good Strategic Sessions. We will talk, locate where you need support, and explore together how I might be able to serve you- with no pressure, just presence. Call (808) 936-4370 or email me at: TheParentMentor@gmail.com.   Lorraine Pursell, Parenting Evolution

  This Week

(BUILT IN) (Icons/Graphics) Text_Calendar.jpg(Ads) SantaCruzParentFacebook.jpgBelow is only a partial list of upcoming events and activities so be sure to click on our EVENT CALENDAR so you do not miss anything >>

Use the PARENT PLANNER to click on events and resources you are interested in and click PRINT MY PLANNER to print or email your list.

 

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School Corner

Santa Cruz Montessori PreK-8, Cosmic Education 1/9 tonight!

 

 

Spring Hill School K-6, Kindergarten Roundup 1/11

 

 

Discovery Learning Center, Exploring Homeschooling 1/11

 

 

York School 8-12, All About York 1/12

 

 

Mount Madonna PreK-12, Campus Tour 1/14

 

 

Chartwell School K-12, Open House 1/14

 


Meet representatives of 24 Independent Schools Serving Students in Santa Cruz County.

Independent School Fair, 1/15

 

 

Chartwell School K-12, Dyslexia Workshop 1/15

 

 

Gateway School K-8, Middle School Information Night 1/16



Kirby School 6-12, Open House 1/16

 

 

Santa Catalina Pre-12, Day of the Arts 1/19

 

 

Spring Hill K-6, Open House 1/22

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 Second Saturday on the Farm


Agricultural History Project Center and Museum
Talks on gardens, tractor driving for kids, hayrides, movies, practice cow milking, and...
Date: 01/11/2014 from 11:00am to 3:00pm
Ages: all ages Admission Fees: FREE

The Agricultural History Project Center and Museum continues the monthly Second Saturday On The Farm on January 11, 11am - 3pm at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, Highway 152 outside Watsonville. This event is FREE! Donations appreciated. Bring your whole neighborhood to participate!

(Photos General) AgHistory_TractorRide.jpgThis January 11th Second Saturday features several scheduled talks, tractor driving for kids, hayrides, movies, practice cow milking, and other activities for children. The indoor museum exhibit area will be open and activities will be indoors if it rains.

11:45 am - 12:45 pm - Judy Smith, singing and playing farm songs
12:00 pm - 12:45 pm - Anna Rasmussen, slide show on community gardens
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm - Dr. Paul Lee

There Is a Garden in the Mind book discussion and signing.  Vermiculture demonstrations will be throughout the day with Donna and George Erickson. They'll have a worm bin and information describing composting table scraps with worms. 

(Photos General) AgHistory_MilkingCow.jpgAnna Rasmussen, the founder of Mesa Verde Community Gardens in Watsonville, will give a slide show presentation at 12:00 pm about the community garden projects. Mesa Verde Community Gardens uses undeveloped land at a number of churches in the area giving people the opportunity to grow their own food for their families. This past year she has also established an orchard and a community garden at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds. The Agricultural History Project is a partner with the gardens using one garden plot, showing students how to grow corn during "Day on the Farm" and helping promote the gardens.

Farm Songs for Kids
- Judy Smith, a gracious and talented singer and guitar player from the Aptos Presbyterian Church, will sing and play farms songs with the children 11:45 am - 12:45 pm. 

Location: Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, 2601 East Lake Ave., Watsonville Map
Phone: (831) 724-5898 •website

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"Legends of the Night Sky: Orion"
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  "Legends of the Night Sky: Orion"
Hartnell College
Date: Every Fri (Jan 31-Feb 28) at 5:30pm
Details: Star shows for young children Pre-K - 3rd grade
Special Instructions: No Programs on February 7
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