A Well-Lit Path: A Blog from Westtown School's Parent Partnering Program

6 Painless Ways to Stop Controlling Your Teen

Posted by Linda Rosenberg McGuire on January 24, 2017

Some parents find it downright liberating when their teenagers become increasingly
independent. Others find it unsettling, even threatening. Parents who crave control of their teenager often discover that allowing their teens to experience the world on their own is terrifying. However, developmentally, it is important to slowly hand over control of your teen’s life…to your teen.
You will always be their parent, but they are looking for - and needing -you to manage less of their day-to-day lives.

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Topics: Raising Resilient, Healthy Teens, Inspring the Best in Kids

Design Thinking…Empathy in Action

Posted by Alicia Zeoli on January 5, 2017

Empathy and action are at the heart of Quaker education. These attributes are also central to design thinking (DT), where students are asked to discover and understand needs, and then collaborate to meet them. They are asked to empathize, to interview, to dig deeper, and to ask Why? or How Might We?

Developed by Tim Brown of Stanford University, design thinking is both a mindset and a process. We begin by modeling the mindsets of design thinking: curiosity, creative confidence, fail up/fail fast/fail often, just make it, embrace ambiguity,empathize, iterate, and optimism, or a “Yes, And” attitude. As students engage in design thinking, they develop these mindsets.

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Topics: Help with learning, Raising Resilient Lower and Middle Schoolers

Holiday Shopping: What to Give and Why

Posted by Kristin Trueblood on December 7, 2016


We have all faced the question: Do I buy the latest item on the top of my child's list? Often the must-have toy is quickly discarded.  To shift away from this season's craze and give gifts that outlast the fads, here are a few insights which might help you evaluate what to put in the cart.

  • Children benefit from lots and lots of practice with fine motor play.  To help little fingers grow stronger so they can print, build, paint, and pour, consider toys and tools which let children cook, sew, and construct. Cook books, pie-making tools, board games, puzzles, watercolors, sewing kits, hammers, nails, clay, musical instruments, dolls with clothes, and blocks of all sizes – these toys help children develop stronger, more coordinated fingers.  
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Topics: Raising Resilient Lower and Middle Schoolers, Inspring the Best in Kids

Buy Local, Eat Fresh, Give Thanks

Posted by Beth Pellegrino on November 18, 2016

 As the air grows crisp and we turn our minds to Thanksgiving, I am constantly reminded of how fortunate we are to live in a part of the world with rich bounty of local foods and produce.

I also feel lucky to work in an environment where there is a long history of sustainable, local eating. Our Archives tells the story of days when Westtown School had its own apple orchard, dairy cows, and working farm. In recent years, we have re-ignited the excitement around farming on campus. Faculty members work side-by-side with students to grow organic vegetables on the Westtown farm. This farm experience is both educational and exploratory for students and produces over 5000 pounds of vegetables each year. It is rewarding, not to mention fiscally responsible, to use vegetables from our organic farm to feed the school community.  

People often ask me,  ”How can I bring local fare to my family's table and get my kids excited to eat it?” I offer these suggestions:

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Topics: sustainability

Teenagers: Who Are They?

Posted by Linda Rosenberg McGuire on November 1, 2016

There are many advantages to getting older, and I am actually a big fan of this, my fifth, decade because I can boldly say, “In over 30 years of working with teenagers...” and feel like I finally have the expertise to express opinions without any official statistics. So, here goes: In my 30 years of working with teenagers, I have found they often feel annoyed by their parents’ insistence that they “know them.” There are two themes that run through this resentment. The first is how counter this feels to the adolescent need for privacy and separation from their parents. The second is how rapidly teenagers change their minds, their interests, their direction, their values, their persona, and even their personality.

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Topics: Raising Resilient, Healthy Teens, Communication and Children

Vote for Books!

Posted by Lynn Clements on October 20, 2016



Election seasons are good opportunities for conversations about democracy and politics with your children. As your family talks about the upcoming election, consider children's books that answer questions about a complicated process, provide open discussion about the importance of voting, or offer a light-hearted look at the office of the President. Here are a few suggestions for your family :

So You Want to be President, by Judith St. George, was the 2001 Caldecott Winner, with watercolor illustrations by David Small. This book has been updated and revised several times and includes information about each president, accompanied by Small’s wonderful artwork. All ages.

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Topics: Help with learning, Communication and Children, Inspring the Best in Kids

Election Season: Teachable Moments

Posted by John Baird on September 22, 2016


In a recent survey conducted by the Southern Poverty Law Center, over 2000 preK-12 teachers indicated that the current political campaign is having a disturbing impact on our children. They reported observing an increase in anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant sentiment, an increase in uncivil discourse, and a rise in sadness and fear.

We have a teachable moment this fall, an opportunity to create a different kind of dialogue in which we can talk about issues, and feelings, with empathy and respect; to practice the kindness and dignity we’re not always seeing in the world around us. Westtown has long practiced this kind of teaching, learning, and listening, focused on finding common ground and the common good.

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Topics: Communication and Children, Inspring the Best in Kids

Good Books Are Good Getaways

Posted by Caroline Eddy on July 25, 2016



Summer is the best season to catch up - on sleep, vacation days, time with family and friends, and especially the pile of books collected over the last year.  Whether you’re actually travelling or just have some down time at home, a good story has the ability to take you a thousand different places and times.

In the spirit of sharing great stories, we asked our teachers and staff for their favorite reads. Here’s what they shared, should you need inspiration for your next library visit or another book to add to the pile.

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Topics: Westtown Picks

10 Tips to Help Your Student Avoid the Academic “Summer Slide”

Posted by Lynn Clements on June 9, 2016

As parents, we try to protect our children with immunizations, sunscreen, bicycle helmets, seat belts, and good health habits. But what can we do to prevent “summer slide” - academic loss that occurs over the summer-  and instead, foster “summer gain?”

Research shows that leisure reading is the best predictor of comprehension, vocabulary, and reading speed.  Regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic level, or previous achievement, children who read four or more books over the summer perform better on reading-comprehension tests in the fall than their peers who read one or no books over the summer. Academic losses over the summer months are cumulative, creating a wider gap each year between more proficient and less proficient students.

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Topics: Help with learning, Inspring the Best in Kids

Climate Change: Another Chance to Lead by Example

Posted by Wade Tomlinson on May 10, 2016

It seems we are always trying to find a balance between what we want to remain the same and what we want to change. On one hand there are traditions, habits, and rituals and on the other there are research, knowledge and data that  encourages us to modify our habits. I am writing today to talk about climate change and our thinking about changing our habits for the betterment of our world and our children who will inherit the planet.

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Topics: Inspring the Best in Kids

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A Well-Lit Path: Westtown's Parent Partnering Program

Parenting is hard. We all need partners. Westtown is here to help.

Westtown teachers have been down the path before, and they're here to light the way for parents. The Parent Partnering Program will be a resource for the Westtown community and beyond. Our teachers and administrators are experts in their fields who want to help parents in the grand, joint project of raising the next generation to be kind, thoughtful, whole, successful, empathetic leaders and doers. 

What to expect from A Well-Lit Path:

Blog posts
 
Informational sessions on campus and via webinars
 
A speaker series 
 
A commitment to helping parents