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Head of School's Blog

May 01, 2024

May Blog

There are countless really rewarding moments at ARS, many of which are not suitable topics for the monthly blog, but last month provided two remarkable examples of our educational success. One of whic...

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Apr 01, 2024

April Blog

One of my dear friends, a retired teacher who has visited ARS, sent this to me recently from the public domain: “Every Friday afternoon Chase’s teacher asks her students to take out a piece of paper ...

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Mar 01, 2024

March Blog

The good weather has arrived, and with it the opportunity for families to spend greater amounts of time outside. The most important message is to enjoy this opportunity, the secondary message is to se...

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Feb 01, 2024

Current Events at ARS

As Russia instigated and escalated the war with Ukraine, the classrooms here addressed the topic of that war delicately. There is a difference between age-appropriate ways in which to discuss a curren...

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Jan 01, 2024

January- Resolutions

It is January 1st and the first day of a new calendar year. It is a perfect time to discuss resolutions. Adults traditionally make resolutions at this time of year that typically involve financial res...

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Dec 01, 2023


Building one last step on the ‘communication theme’ in all of this year’s blogs to date, the final piece will be non-verbal communication. Human to human non-verbal communication begins in utero and c...

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Nov 01, 2023


The September blog covered ways in which to elicit school information from your children, followed by October’s blog offering positive verbal cues with which to send children off to school each mornin...

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Oct 01, 2023


Last month the issue of how to encourage children to discuss their school day was the topic. The parents who provided feedback on that topic have requested that this month be devoted to the topic of s...

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Sep 01, 2023


There is a recurring theme every September from the families whose young children are just beginning elementary school, students in JrK through 1st grade. The resounding question that many of these pa...

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Jun 01, 2023

ARS Theater Program

The May 5th ARS production of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ was inspirational. Among other thoughts, it inspired contemplation of the enormous educational value of the performing arts. Below is the short list of...

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May 01, 2023

AI: Where Angels Fear to Tread

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is in the general news and at the forefront of educational news for good reason. The leaders in the industry have recently appealed to the federal government to impose a s...

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Apr 01, 2023

The One and Only Ivan

I seriously considered submitting a blank blog and claiming invisible ink for April Fool’s Day, but I read a book over the Spring break, at Blair Goodman’s sage suggestion, and was inspired to dash a ...

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Mar 01, 2023


Written Feb 8, the morning after the 2023 State of the Union Address. ARS weekly Assemblies are designed to teach several skills and accomplish several goals: The entire school gathers as one, enhan...

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Feb 01, 2023

Risking the Wrong Answer

Whether one is naturally drawn to risk or naturally avoidant of risk-taking, like so much else, a balanced approach is the most beneficial. Excessive risk is dangerous and excessive risk-avoidance is ...

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Jan 01, 2023


Complementarity is what defines a paradox. It is when one thing considered from different perspectives can have contradictory properties. Rather like looking simultaneously through a microscope with o...

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Dec 01, 2022


On November 15, ARS hosted a panel discussion organized by Sharon Thomas of MAIA Education Resource Center on the topic of childhood anxiety. The panelists were informed and interesting and audience q...

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Nov 01, 2022


Bullying I have an acquaintance who was recently hired by the city of New York to develop an entire anti-bullying curriculum, from Universal Pre-K though Grade 12. The fact this is even considered, l...

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Oct 01, 2022

Routines and Ruts

My grandmother used to proclaim that the only difference between a rut and a grave was the depth. Nobody wants to be stuck in a rut, but routine is vital to children’s sense of order and their need fo...

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Sep 01, 2022

Summer Reading

You may have noticed the recurring theme in these blogs of adults modeling the behaviors that they hope to encourage in children at home and at school. If you are new to ARS, please feel free to go to...

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Jun 01, 2022

Attention Must Be Paid

In Journal of a Prairie Year , Paul Gruchow wrote about the nuanced sound of snow: "With proper attention, one can learn to tell the temperature of the air, the depth of snowfall on the ground, an...

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May 01, 2022

In Praise of Our Parents Association

While still basking in the glow of the Spring Fling, it is most appropriate to pay tribute to the Parents Association. Parents Associations are an invaluable source of strength in a school community....

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Apr 01, 2022

Rewards and Punishments

The only difference between an incentive and a bribe is the timing…but they say timing is everything. In an ideal world everyone would behave perfectly at all times due to an internal sense of motiva...

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Mar 01, 2022

The Importance of Elementary School Years

School should be fun (see the former blog about play-based education) and children should love to come to school. One of my favorite statements about ARS is that we rarely have anyone cry on the first...

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Feb 01, 2022

The Value of Mistakes

Last month, in presenting the inherent value of play, it occurred to me to follow up this month with the value of mistakes. If children’s work is play and mastery of skills through practice, the art o...

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Jan 01, 2022

The Importance of Play

One of the most frequently asked questions during any admissions meeting at ARS is where the school falls on the curve between a traditional and progressive educational model. It is a highly loaded qu...

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Dec 01, 2021

A Tale of Two Pities

It is the best of times and the worst of times… In conducting an interview with me for a graduate class, one of our faculty members asked me to comment on general differences and trends in elementar...

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Nov 01, 2021

Our School Building

First and foremost, a most heartfelt thanks to Second Presbyterian Church (SPC) for allowing ARS the use of their space. Our building defines the very character of our school and contributes mightily...

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Oct 01, 2021


It is only fitting that on the first day of October there should be information about the last day of October. Halloween is certainly something that many children (and adults) enjoy celebrating. As ou...

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Sep 01, 2021

September ’21 Blog

Music: Harvey Schmidt Lyrics: Tom Jones Book: Tom Jones Premiere: Tuesday, May 3, 1960 Try to remember the kind of September When life was slow and oh, so mellow. Try to remember the kind of Sep...

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Jun 01, 2021


Ambiguity is a large part of so many of life’s milestones, academic graduation among them. Regardless of the emotional feelings about the school one is leaving, there is genuine ambivalence about the ...

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May 01, 2021


‘The Moral Judgment of the Child’ by Jean Piaget fascinatingly discusses the young child’s inability to distinguish intent from results. In other words, someone who breaks one item purposefully is not...

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Apr 01, 2021

Social Grace and Courtesy

Standard wisdom espouses that education is the best means for self-improvement. Betterment through education cannot be denied, but one can get almost equally far in the world with simple good manners....

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Mar 01, 2021


Few adults are fortunate enough to have maintained the level of imagination that they had as children. Last year, one of our Professional Development Days was devoted entirely to increasing the level...

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Feb 01, 2021

Love is in the Air

Love is a good topic for the month of February. It is the essential ingredient in bringing up and in teaching children. Unconditional love is the wellspring of openness to learning. Even more damaging...

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Jan 01, 2021

Emotions Are Ageless

Unlike in Victorian England, emotions these days are openly discussed and publicly displayed. This trend spans everything from family conversations to media coverage. Nothing is sacred or private any ...

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Dec 01, 2020


In the minds of many children December is the month of receiving gifts, for any one of the many holidays we celebrate. It is a perfect month for teaching and modeling the act of giving. Philanthropy i...

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Nov 01, 2020

Testing Stress

Simply utter the word ‘test’ and watch most people become tense with anxiety and discomfort. Our culture, especially in recent years, has placed undue pressure on children, in particular, to perform o...

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Oct 01, 2020

Independence and Autonomy

The ideal trajectory of human development beginning at birth involves increasing degrees of independence and autonomy. Newborns snuggle facing inward, babies within a few months begin to show interest...

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Sep 01, 2020

20/20 Vision, A Blog from our Head of School, Brinton Parson

Achieving social justice is an imperative for our civilization and for our quality of life – for every one of us. And like so many goals we cherish, the pursuit of fairness and harmony can be – and sh...

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