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Renewable Ideas…

August 30, 2013

Believe it or not, another school year is upon us. For the 84th time, The Swain School will open its doors to eager students from across the Lehigh Valley. Excitement reigns, and passion for education is palpable as you walk the hallways; it’s that magical time to begin again.

As we all renew this time-tested process, below are three ideas to consider this fall:

Promote Grit

ImageAs defined, grit is courage, resolve, and strength of character. It’s resiliency, determination, and perseverance rolled into one. As human beings, it’s what allows us to survive those inevitable bumps in the road – while maintaining and even building a sense of confidence. It’s the mettle of a marathon runner, the determination of an entrepreneur, and the hardiness of a seasoned educator.

Promote grit in your household this fall by fostering a growth mindset. Praise or constructively criticize effort, focus on the process, and help your child frame difficult circumstances in a positive, enduring light. It’s mental training for a triathlon.

For more on grit, watch this superb TED Talk.

Develop a Bedtime Routine

Every child is different, but most children, and adults, Imagebenefit from routine and structure. Although there is evidence that mixing study locations helps retention, there is also evidence that a clear, consistent routine in the evening promotes order. Involve your child in decisions about the evening routine, and help them develop balance and consistency after dinner hours.

Set healthy limits to screen time, monitor cell phones (for older students), and read for pleasure – often. This includes adults, as modeling how to snuggle up with a good book helps develop children into lifelong readers.

Work Hard

This simple concept is sometimes overlooked because, well, it sounds simple. But good old-fashioned hard work – toward something you are passionate about – is Imagealways a critical ingredient. Hard work promotes meaning, helps develop grit, and provides each of us with a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.

School is not easy, friendships can be unstable, and the field hockey game may not always turn out as planned, but working incredibly hard at things we enjoy truly promotes meaning in our lives. Find joy in sweating, grind out that study time for the history test, and work hard at relationships – it’s worth it in the end.

Check out Ashton Kutcher at the Teen Choice Awards this summer—truly inspiring.

Have a wonderful start to a brand new school year. The Swain School is as vibrant as ever, and with grit, balance, hard work, and a healthy dose of reading, we are primed for a tremendous year –

Kyle Armstrong
Associate Head for Academics


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