A Well-Lit Path: A Blog from Westtown School

The Power of Emotions

Posted by Kristin Crawford on October 22, 2018

In Meeting for Worship, a first grader was moved to share the message bubbling up in her. “Every day isn't always going to be cupcakes and rainbows.  Some days you have to pause and take a moment for your emotions.”

Emotions are a full-blown reality for children.  Happiness, frustration, anger, joy, silliness, excitement, disappointment.  They swirl around in their minds and bodies.

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

Kindness & Teamwork: A Mindset for All Ages

Posted by Kristin Crawford on February 22, 2018

It is hard to believe it was almost two months ago when many of us were developing resolutions for the new year. As we know, all too well, absolute resolutions are quickly and easily broken. This year I thought maybe a mindset resolution is better than an absolute. So, the resolutions I set out for our Lower School students are more of a mindset. We are asking the children to keep in mind two ways of thinking about others:  being kind and being part of a team.

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Topics: Inspiring the Best in Kids, Raising Resilient Lower and Middle Schoolers, Communication and Children

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 Crawford 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: Inspiring the Best in Kids, Raising Resilient Lower and Middle Schoolers

Powerful Stories for Families

Posted by Lynn Clements on January 12, 2016

Stories are powerful tools for communicating the values of a culture and the experiences of others. In this post, I am offering books that explore our differences, similarities, and our common humanity. These books attempt to answer the big questions about human rights, hearts and minds. I have selected titles that celebrate being an individual but also raise up the importance of seeing the light in others. They are powerful stories for a family discussion, but I have also selected them for their literary and/or artistic merit. I hope they will find a place in the heart of your family this winter.

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Topics: Communication and Children, Raising Resilient Lower and Middle Schoolers, Inspiring the Best in Kids

Snow Lessons: Nine Discoveries for Young Kids

Posted by Kristin Crawford on February 17, 2015

kid_in_snowWhen I was little, it seemed to snow and snow all winter.  I grew up in Maryland but if it was winter there was snow and ice.  Snow to sled on and ice to skate on.  Well, actually sledding was more like careening – as fast as you could, over the large speed bumps and landing with a thud on the frozen pond.  Skating was a process of trying and failing.

What’s to be learned from hours outside in the freezing cold?  Plenty. 

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Topics: Raising Resilient Lower and Middle Schoolers

Tips for helping young kids find their independence

Posted by Kristin Crawford on February 9, 2015

Most of the struggles of parenting of young children stem from children’s fierce desire to be independent.  In fact, independence is the work of childhood

From the moment children are born, all the milestones are about independence:  sitting up, holding a cup, crawling, walking.  Leap forward to learning to ride a bike without training wheels or jumping in the pool or go way out to the teenage years – one of the biggest milestones – learning to drive.  And what do you do when you learn to drive?  You drive away from your parents!

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Topics: Raising Resilient Lower and Middle Schoolers