Uncle Dan’s Report Card

2015-05-12-094149(DSC_1411)-X3   As my own children were growing up, I can honestly say that I sometimes questioned my decision making as a parent. My husband and I would sometimes feel that we made more mistakes than not. Being a parent is by far the most important calling and, at the same time, rewarding “challenge” that you may ever have. There were days of the forgotten lunch box, misplaced uniform piece, or even lost and (yes) not completed homework and/or test preparation…not to mention the best friend arguments _MG_6847-X2or hurts of not being invited to a party or losing a game, not getting that all important A+ and more! All these little things can make you shudder and, at the time, assume that you are a failure as a parent. How can we handle these “growing pains” with our children and help contribute to their strength of character as
a person?

At Park Maitland, we can easily boast of the excellent job we do of developing our children’s intellect. But, equally or even more important, is how we develop their character. This challenge requires the partnership and efforts of all the adults in a child’s life — teachers, parents, and the school.

As a learning community, Park Maitland is always searching for ways to engage our teachers and staff in ongoing professional development and education. We are always IMG_9222-X3asking — how can we do the very best for every single child at Park Maitland School?

We know that, in order to be exceptional educators, we must be committed to lifelong learning. Book studies are just one avenue which allows teachers to engage and learn about current trends and academic literature. One of our best “reads” was a book chosen this past summer called Uncle Dan’s Report Card. We chose this book DSC_0110-X2because itresonated with our mission of educating the whole child, and it also showed us that some of Park Maitland’s traditional teachings or core values are as timeless and relevant today as they were almost a century ago. Our teachers and staff had the opportunity to meet with the author of this great read and quickly realized that our parents would also enjoy being involved in discussions and conversations related to the key points of this book.

Please look for information regarding our October Parent Chat entitled “Uncle Dan’s Report Card!” We are giving the book away to the first 200 people who sign up to be a part of this pertinent discussion.

We sometimes feel “alone” in our decision making as parents. Raising a happy and successful child today is no small task. Join us in discussions about how we can work together with our toddlers to teens to help them be confident and successful personally and academically.2015-05-12-113550(DSC_2172)-X3

Cindy Moon

Head of School

Pen to Paper

DSC_3151-X2It is sad to say that handwriting has become a lost art in many schools across the U.S. I am proud to announce that handwriting at Park Maitland is alive and well!  Contrary to widespread belief that it doesn’t really impact a child’s learning, we believe that it is far too soon to declare handwriting a relic of the past.

According to findings provided by the latest brain research, the link between handwriting and broader educational development runs deep. Children _MG_0003-XLnot only learn to read more quickly when they first learn to write by hand, but they also remain better able to generate ideas and retain information. Neuroscientists have learned that when we write, a unique neural circuit is automatically activated, and it seems that this circuit is contributing in unique ways we didn’t realize; learning is made easier.

From “The Benefits of Cursive Go Beyond Writing,” Suzanne Baruch Asherson, The New York Times, April 30, 2013:

Putting pen to paper stimulates the brain like nothing else, even in this age of e-mails, texts and tweets. In fact, learning to write in cursive is shown to improve brain development in the areas of thinking, language, and working memory. Cursive handwriting stimulates brain synapses and synchronicity between the left and right hemispheres, something absent from printing and typing.DSC_0118-XL

At Park Maitland, you will see our students across all grades writing in various classes and for various reasons on a daily basis; you will also see students taking time to reflect,
collaborate, and engage in meaningful (face to face) conversations with teachers IMG_0752-XLand peers. There are many times throughout the day when technology is not allowed for this reason. We believe in the old with the new.  On the other hand, you will also see students using technology to engage in learning at a whole new level…. acquiring vital skills needed for a technology infused life and future.

Yes, learning the correct formation of letters in print and in cursive is still part of our core curriculum. We believe that there are certain fundamental foundational learning essentials in school such as handwriting, phonics, grammar, non-fiction and fiction writing, practice of math facts, memorization of and
understanding of certain historical primary source documents, learning and applying scientific processes, and more! These basic foundational essentials, combined with 21st Century strategies and approaches, ensure that our students are equipped with all of the skills necessary to be extremely successful in their higher education and beyond.IMG_0984-XL

Warm regards,

Mrs. Cindy Moon

Head of School

Building a Culture of Making

IMG_18516th graders returned to the Maker Space this August to build upon the culture of making they so eagerly embraced last year as 5th graders. They couldn’t wait to begin their first project of the year by collaborating to design eco-friendly green lounge chairs.

Students first built mini prototypes of their chairs from paper notecards and used their prototypes to construct their full size loungers. The objectives of the project were to use green materials to create a foldable, durable, comfortable, and stylish chair. Students worked together to test the strength of their designs against their weights, heights, and tastes.

I am amazed at how the students have developed not only in their skills of creative making and collaborating, but also in using critical thinking to solve problems and create viable solutions. These are the kinds of projects that require students to test, revise, and continually improve their designs.

Look out for these chairs at local sports games, in backyards, under trees, in cozy reading corners, and on the beaches of Central Florida! Stay tuned for more exciting projects coming from our 4th-6th students in the Maker Space this year!

Ms. Evelyn McCulloch

Makers Space teacher

Teaching to the Heart

Park Maitland School has been touted as a school for outstanding, high level academics.  It is a place where students get strong doses of the many academic subjects that are offered here.  Our unique departmentalized program allows our faculty IMG_4458members to teach
to their passion and focus their planning and time on that one academic subject that they teach.Hence, the program allows for “deep teaching” of math, science, social studies, computer science, reading, grammar, and English each and every day. In addition, our core curriculum consists of visual arts, drama, music, swim, and physical fitness.

Because our teachers are highly skilled, collaborative by nature, and engaged in what they do, they often integrate many subjects throughout the curriculum as well. Research shows that this approach to teaching contributes to advanced learning, time management, and study skills that attribute to academic success later in life.

Sometimes forgotten is what we believe is the “cornerstone” of Park Maitland School — our strong focus on character development.  Nell Cohen, the founder of Park Maitland School felt that teaching to the heart superseded teaching to the mind.  20150828_102818Our heavy focus on teaching our children the importance of perseverance, hard work (grit), compassion, kindness, gratitude and respect, and care for all is one hallmark of our school that webelieve contributes to our students’ outstanding success as individuals.

As we work together to educate your child, we appreciate your undeniable support of our mission.  As parents and educators, one challenge is to raise our youth to be independent and empowered to learn from their mistakes and benefit from them.  It is our natural
tendency to “fix” things for them so that they never have to deal with disappointments or upsets in academics or social development.  Recent research points out the pitfalls of this approach.  This is why we work so hard to create small challenges for our students that will give them opportunities to learn how to solve problems, overcome struggles, and reap the benefits of learning how to handle adversity at a young age.IMG_4495Parents, I could not be more appreciative of your support and understanding and, also, your “partnership” in this endeavor.  Here is proof that you are working with us to build these characteristics:

  • This year, only two or three families in the entire school voiced concern with their child’s classroom placement.  It was overwhelmingly clear that parents understand the importance of allowing opportunities for their children to meet new friends, practice inclusiveness, and appreciate diversity.  Parents realize that children don’t and shouldn’t always get their way and must learn to work through the adjustment of what they perceive as a major disappointment.
  • In the past several years, fewer and fewer families are calling the school to question a teacher’s grading practice or trying to do their child’s project or work for them. 
  • More and more parents are expecting that their child exhibit good manners at home as well as outside the home.  They understand how good manners can impact children’s social interactions and build confidence in any situation.  “Yes, ma’am,” “No sir,” eye contact, and respect help your child to stand out and will afford him/her many positive opportunities as they grow older. 

Park Maitland parents are very wise.  They understand the importance of allowing their children to face challenges, work hard, make choices, and have control over their schoolwork and little challenges of growing up.  This sends a powerful message to your child.  IMG_4476You have the confidence in them to do it on their own.  By empowering our young children now, you are teaching them not only to survive in today’s highly competitive world but how to thrive as competent, confident, and successful leaders of the 21st Century.

Here is a link to an interesting article, “Opting Out of the ‘Rug Rat Race'” from THE WALL STREET JOURNAL that speaks to the importance of developing your child’s character in addition to academic achievement: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443819404577635352783638934.html

Thank you for partnering with us as we work together to build happy children and strong leaders.

Warm regards,

Mrs. Cindy Moon

Head of School