October 31, 2013

Keeping it Real

Despite the fact that my child is not even three years old, we are already in the process of looking at schools. I'm sure that some of you are not surprised by this. People start this process early...some much earlier than you might expect.

I had a friend tour a local Montessori school recently and the parents had to list the age of their child. One couple listed "Pre-conception"! Apparently they had already visited more than 10 schools across the city! Seriously? Only a couple without a child would actually have the time to visit that many schools. The rest of us are too busying parenting our already conceived children!

I digress....like anything, I view the school selection process in a very pragmatic fashion: educate myself, go for a tour, weigh the pros and cons, see what is best for my child and then make the decision. All that said, we are still early on in the process and no decisions have been made.

The reason for my post is not to tell you which schools we are considering, but more to share some of my thoughts on education, thoughts that have only come to the forefront of my mind since having a child and thinking about how her education will impact her future.

First, a few things to note.
1. I was an "overachiever", meaning I got mostly all As and cried if I got a B.

2. Through high school (in most classes, not all) I learned to take a test in order to get a grade, not because I was curious about the subject.

3. In college I sought to acquire knowledge because of interest (in most classes) but still focused more on the grade than how I actually enriched myself.

4. It is only as an adult that I seek to learn because of curiosity and self enrichment.

So what does all of that mean?

It means that I want my child to love learning. I want her to be curious. I want her to be a problem solver. I want her to think outside the box, to be an innovator. I want her to be a leader and a team player. I want her to be a mentor. I want her to be a hard worker. I want her to know how to get her hands dirty (and not just in paint). I want her to know what it means to work hard, to earn something. I want her to be independent. I want her to be aware. I want her to fail and know how to try again.

I want her to care less about the grades and more about the knowledge. As my former employer, Nike, stated as one of its key philosophies, "Be A Sponge". I want my child to be a sponge.

While we (my +1 is involved in this process too) are open to the idea of her attending our local public school (I went to public school and I turned out just fine), we are also exploring options like Montessori Schools, International Schools and schools with IB programs.

For all of you with young children who are in a similar position of exploration and similar desires to mine, here are a few videos I would highly recommend watching. Thanks to my friend Ali H. for sharing them.

The first two are TED Talks by Sir Ken Robinson. The first is titled "How Schools Kill Creativity" and the second "Changing Education Paradigms".

And another I will leave you with that talks specifically about Montessori schools. Even if you dont like the messaging of the video, it's still pretty cool!

School is just one small part of the education process! Much of education happens outside of the classroom, in your home, outdoors, on a vacation…

At the end of the day we, as parents, want to do the best for our children and offer them the best opportunities...be that in school, travel, work, etc.

I realize this topic is controversial. So please, feel free to comment!


  1. Obviously I don't have a kid, but I do see 140 of them every day in my classroom... No real advice here, but I do want to reassure you that I know and have known plenty of curious, bright, light-filled students as a public school teacher. I think you can foster engagement and love of learning regardless of where she goes to school! (Not saying public school is necessarily the best, just that I don't think you should worry about it TOO much). =)

  2. I agree with Michelle. I too have been thinking about schools and that did play into where we bought our house. That being said, I could have them come to the school I work at as well. While that may be the first choice, at this point, we are considering our "home" (the school closest to our house) school as well. You are such an involved parent that she will be fine wherever she goes. Not all kids have parents like you. :)

  3. Thanks ladies for your thoughtful comments. I know parent involvement is super important and that she will be just fine whatever school she goes to.