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Head of School's Blog

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

Halloween

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

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

Morality

‘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

Imagination

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

Philanthropy

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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