Positive Communication

How many times have you done or said something in front of your child that you wouldn’t want them to repeat? I can tell you that I have not been a “perfect” parent and am certainly guilty of that behavior. There were times when my children were growing up that I caught myself, or, better yet, my children caught me doing something that they_MG_7874 knew was not right. The stress or mounting pressure of the day got the best of me, and I would embarrass myself in some way or another by doing or saying something that I would quickly regret. Luckily, I would have the good sense to recover by apologizing and pointing out what I did that was wrong and teaching by a “non-example.”

In the book Uncle Dan’s Report Card, Barbara Unell points out that, “We all know that children learn by watching the adults in their world, so it is imperative to develop your own habits of kindness. Your model and that of teachers, baby-sitters, grandparents, and child care providers are the most important influences in training your children how to behave kindly each day.”

One challenge today in teaching kindness or empathy is the hardwired culture in which we live. Emailing, texting, and tweeting are the wave of the present as well as the future. In _MG_7855this day and age, society tries to find the easiest and fastest method of checking things off a list or communicating one’s thoughts. This method of communication (emailing) is commonplace between teachers and parents here at Park Maitland, and 98% of the time it is a productive and positive interchange that facilitates helpful communication. However, communicating only in this fashion can lack the emotional connection of face to face contact. At times, what is being communicated may be misconstrued. In an effort to maximize productive communication at Park Maitland School, we ask that you always take a moment to evaluate the content and tone of your message to assure that it is respectful and productive.

As your child looks up to you for guidance in social behavior, it’s important that you strive to model positive communication between home and school. Likewise, it is important for them to see that you support their school’s mission, and when or if you disagree, that you will seek the best possible approach in communicating your thoughts and ideas.

As challenging as it may be in today’s fast-paced and sometimes stressful _MG_7873society (believe me I learned the hard way!), strive to consciously and intentionally speak and practice the virtues you seek to instill in your child in order to build a solid foundation of strong character traits.

We look forward to having you join us in this week’s upcoming Parent Chat, based on Uncle Dan’s Report Card, where topics of raising children who can thrive in the 21st Century will be discussed. We are thrilled to announce that Tuesday morning’s chat is full, but it’s not too late to sign up for Monday evening’s chat.

Thank your for your continued support as we partner in the education of your child.

Cindy Moon

Head of School

How We Treat Each Other

“Kindness is the basis of all the social virtues — politeness, gentleness, cheerfulness, unselfishness, trustworthiness, a sense of responsibility, honor, chivalry, democracy, and self-sacrifice.” –A quote from Uncle Dan’s Report Card taken from The Mother’s Book written in 1909  IMG_2570

I have the wonderful privilege of serving on the Peace and Justice Advisory Council. This group is comprised of notable leaders throughout Central Florida representing higher
education, local government, various religious organizations, nonprofits, media personalities, etc.   We gather to discuss how to create cultures of peace within our own communities, the extended community, and beyond.

This week, we asked a group of sixth grade students to review the foundational principles of a document called, “How We Treat Each Other” prepared by the Peace and Justice Initiative through Valencia College. They were challenged to review _DSC2285these 13 principles and create a document that could be used with children their age.  We were impressed and awestruck by the depth of their conversations and their ability to rationalize and articulate the importance of these basic ideas.  Below is a copy of their “version.”    `

  1. Welcome everyone and create a community of respect. Be kind to others and invite them to share.
  2. Listen deeply. Put yourself in their shoes and listen to the feelings beneath the words for as long as it takes.  Do this without passing judgment because ALL voices have value.
  3. Have a voice. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Say what is in your heart honestly and respectfully.
  4. Respect privacy. Be a trusting friend by not sharing what people have said to you or in a group.  Create a safe space where everyone can share their thoughts and ideas freely.
  5. Celebrate diversity. Value each person inside and out because differences are an amazing way for us to understand people for who they really are.
  6. Slow down.  Slow and steady wins the race.  Take your time to think before you act or speak.

In her book, Uncle Dan’s Report Card, Barbara Unell references a quote written in 1909 that was placed on an elementary report card.  “It has doubtless come within the observation of every teacher that the AmericanIMG_4589 youth is not at all times as courteous and kind as he ought to be…”  Habits of kindness mattered “then,” and habits of kindness matter now.  As parents and educators, it is even more of a challenge to reinforce these habits in our fast paced, highly competitive, media inundated, hardwired culture of today. However, I know that there is great hope for the future.  The six principles above offered by 11 year old children is just one indication.

Thanks for partnering with us on this journey,

Cindy Moon

Head of School

Evenings Together

As a child and teenager growing up, evening dinner was a sacred time for my family.  I remember making sure that I was at the table and fully engaged in discussion.IMG_9302-X2 Anything less than that would have been disrespectful. Over homemade spaghetti and meatballs, meatloaf, and mashed potatoes, or more elaborate Italian or Lebanese dishes prepared by my mother, we would talk through the day’s events. Although I was highly involved in extracurricular activities, I somehow made it home for this ritual.

As a parent, however, I must admit finding the time for a family meal during the school week was more difficult. As working parents with two children involved in sports activities or clubs, we found ourselves on many nights eating on the run or separately. Those all important get-togethers became less and less frequent. If I could go back and do it all over, I would look long and hard at how to change this.

Why “Evenings at Home” matter today…

Barbara Unell points out in her book, Uncle Dan’s Report Card that children today have a tremendous array of evening activities outside the home available to them, mostly because of easy access to_DSC2139 lighting and transportation.  The number of activities, along with the access to a variety of electronic devices that take children’s attention away from home and family, suggest that “Evenings at Home” have a different priority for parents today.

Current research makes a convincing argument for spending evenings at home together.  According to statistics reported by Ms. Unell, one of the greatest predictors of good behavior and academic achievement in school is the family dinner.  Children who eat dinner with the family at least three times a week are better behaved and achieve at a higher level than those who don’t.

Join us at one of the Uncle Dan’s Report Card chats in October to participate in lively discussion and hear from experts on best child-rearing practices.  Remember, the first 200 people who sign up will receive a free Uncle Dan’s Report Card book.IMG_3079-X2 You can RSVP online now!  I hope to see many families come together to discuss common parenting issues of today and yesteryear.  It takes a village!

Thanks for joining us in this venture!

Cindy Moon

Head  of School