By Reed Gabhart, Head of Goshen Campus

It’s been a big week for the Lower School! First, they had their annual Student Council elections on Wednesday. The highlight of that “campaign” is the speeches they give to their fellow classmates and teachers. As we all know, public speaking is scary for many adults, so imagine being 7, 8, or 9 and having to do it. Our brave little candidates did a great job as always (without promising a new swimming pool on campus!). A couple of my favorite moments included one candidate who stumped for more tater tots at lunch (pure genius – a “tot in every pot!”), and a speech that incorporated Shakespeare (“To run – or not to run…”; of course I loved that one!). Congratulations to all who took the plunge and ran for office! Here are the Lower School Student Council winners for this year:

  • 2nd Grade – Braylee Dowell and William Lewis
  • 3rd Grade – Charlie Farra and Ellorie Hood
  • 4th Grade – Isala Leksrisawat and Connor Lin

Wednesday night brought our annual Back-to-School Night for Lower School. As with the Middle School night last week, the first 30 minutes of the evening were devoted to parent education. Alexandra spoke about one of the summer reading books our faculty read, The Narcissism Epidemic, by Jean Twenge. This book is centered on the entitlement many of our kids feel when obstacles are removed for them. I’m sure many of you have heard the term “helicopter parents”;  this book introduces a new phrase, “lawnmower parents,” describing parents who “mow down” any problems their child might face. I spoke next about the book iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy – and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood (also by Jean Twenge) which is focused on the current generation (1995 and onward) who have grown up in the “screen era” and how that is affecting them. The bottom line is that simply too much screen time is detrimental to kids in many ways, but some of the effects may surprise you. Both of these books are very informative, and we highly recommend them for our entire parent community. Claudia McCrocklin then gave a wonderful talk on literacy and how kids learn to read. It really is a fascinating process and her talk provided wonderful insight into the myriad number of components that must go together to make children fluent readers. Jen Griffith rounded out this portion with information on our Parent-Student Handbook which underwent an extensive overhaul this summer. She especially highlighted the parent-school partnership section and just how critical that piece is for everyone (and don’t forget to sign off on your electronic form on having read our handbook by this Saturday, September 15th).

The rest of the night, our talented Lower School teachers scurried to and fro delivering curricular talks to every grade they teach. I’m always impressed at their genuine enthusiasm for the subjects they teach and how enthused they are to describe their plans. I learned last night that all the Lower School grades will culminate the year with a simultaneous gardening unit (which is awesome for our students and so apropos for our campus). A couple of other fun “nuggets” included Emily Campbell’s 1st graders discovering snakes outdoors recently – and running towards them rather than away (no word on which direction Emily ran), and in 4th grade, Sarah Dewberry and Joanne Brock described their always-popular Living History unit and said all the kids want to choose Hamilton this year. Poor George Washington just doesn’t cut it anymore, I guess! It was a wonderful night and kudos go to Jen and the Lower School faculty for all the work they do every day for our children.

At “press time,” our first Buddy Day was about to kick off! I’m sure you’ll see plenty of darling pictures from their first get-together!