Because We’re Happy…

By Melissa Guarnaccia, MSW, LCSW
School Counselor

I am often amazed at the smiles, laughs, and general happiness I observe as I enter various classrooms across all three divisions of Charlotte Prep. Just today I was able to see hearts open and smiles emerge as baby chicks hatched in the Early School. I was able to catch an impromptu dance party during a Lower School PE class, as well as a Middle School student assisting another on crutches while both grabbed on to each other in laughter.

Research shows that children need to be in a relaxed, calm, and happy state to be open to playing and learning. We all have this goal for our Charlotte Prep kids. As both a mother and school counselor, I strive to assist kids in learning to self-regulate their energy and emotions to be present at school and open to reaching their full potential.

We, as adults, tend to understand the need for children to be calm and regulated. But happy? How do we even clearly define happiness for our children? Adults can struggle to consider happiness as much as success, milestones, ability, or even the ideal weekly schedule.

These questions came to mind when recently reading the New York Times article, “Letting Happiness Flourish in the Classroom.” Are we able to “live in the moment” and “do nothing” with our children to foster creativity, problem-solving, and most importantly, happiness? There can be a disconnect at times between what we as a society teach our kids versus what we hope and envision for them long-term. Let us choose calm. Let us model happiness.

Note: Click here for another interesting article by the same author about fostering happiness in our children.

Coming Together Over Political Divisiveness

divisiveness-event-videoBy Eddie Mensah, Head of School

I began our panel on “Parenting in the Age of Political Divisiveness” last Wednesday by reminding everyone present that we would not be discussing our individual views on politics or which party we support. Instead, we’d be discussing what the current political climate is and how we can navigate these times with our children. What transpired was a thoughtful and engaging discussion that gave those present plenty to think about.

If you missed it, click here to watch our Facebook livestream of the event. You can also read our as-it-happened Twitter coverage here.

In the meantime, here are some takeaways from the evening that may spark some reflection for you: Continue reading “Coming Together Over Political Divisiveness”

Young Ladies in Leadership

YLLMiddle School students participate in clubs each Friday afternoon during the final period of the day. These classes range from Rock Climbing to Jazz Band to Young Ladies in Leadership. We asked eighth-graders Ashton D. and Erin B., who serve as the co-presidents of Young Ladies in Leadership, to give us a snapshot of what their organization is all about.

By Ashton D. and Erin B., Class of 2018

Young Ladies in Leadership is a club made up of seventh and eighth-grade young ladies who aspire to be innovators in their community. In our experience Young Ladies in Leadership is not only a club but also a family. It’s a place where we can go to talk about the things going on in our lives and feel comfortable while being surrounded by like-minded girls. At our age, many young women find themselves doubting their capabilities and unique characteristics. With a club like Young Ladies in Leadership, feeling alone seems like less of an outcome. Not only does the club give us a sense of ownership, but we also get to develop social skills and interact with people who are less fortunate than we are. Continue reading “Young Ladies in Leadership”

A Parent’s Perspective: Athletes with Character

The girls volleyball team are representing Charlotte Preparatory School well by truly demonstrating the Four Pillars, writes a Charlotte Prep parent.

girls-volleyballPrep parent Mandi Mohammed co-coaches the volleyball team. She wrote the following note to Head of School Eddie Mensah and Head of Middle School Evan Kurtz.

Mr. Kurtz & Mr. Mensah,

I just wanted to take a minute to say how much I have enjoyed co-coaching the volleyball team with Coach Evatt this season. These young ladies are representing Charlotte Prep well by truly demonstrating the Four Pillars.

Continue reading “A Parent’s Perspective: Athletes with Character”

Buddies Coming Together

2177by Evan Kurtz, Head of Middle School

Yesterday the Middle School and Lower School came together for our first BUDEE session of the year. An acronym for Be Understanding, Dedicated, Empathetic, and Engaged, our first gathering proved to be all of the above.

It can be challenging for Middle School students to be understanding of younger students, but I witnessed many of them connecting and communicating with their younger classmates. It was impressive how they were able to speak with the lower schoolers on their level while avoiding “babying” them.

Middle School students showed both dedication and empathy as they worked on the “get to know you” project with their Lower School buddies. Ask a 6th grader about the patience required to work with a kindergartener – that’s dedication! Empathy was on full display as 7th graders took to the floor, or filled small chairs to occupy the same physical space as the 2nd graders. This empathy will grow as buddies discuss issues in future meetings that each of them faces, albeit in their own ways.

These traits will continue as they remain engaged with the BUDEE program each month. I look forward to watching each relationship grow as students form bonds which will make our campus stronger and more together. Each Middle School student will also gain insights into their leadership style and skills from their work with their buddies, skills which will serve them well in many situations to come.

Resiliency and Self-Efficacy

Originally Presented at Lower School Curriculum Night

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

My name is Nicole Girvan, and this is my fourth year as Head of Lower School and eleventh as a division director.  I shared this with my lower school families at our recent Curriculum Night and wanted it to be available for anyone who was unable to attend or for those in other divisions as it is relevant for every parent. 

Two years ago, I shared a Ted Talk about grit and the importance of perseverance by Angela Duckworth, and this year I want to briefly talk about the notion of independence, self-efficacy, and emotional intelligence. I recently viewed another Ted Talk given by Julie Lythcott-Haims about over-parenting. She does a remarkable job stressing the importance of allowing those teachable moments and life lessons for our children. She shares how important it is for parents to avoid defining their child’s worth by their grades. More importantly, Ms. Lythcott-Haims talks about how parents need to build self-efficacy in children.

The weekend of the Back to Prep Bash, my husband and I dropped off our oldest son at boarding school. In one of the orientation sessions, the school psychologist told us that our role as parents has shifted and it may cause discomfort. The gist of the presentation is that parents of middle and upper school students are moving away from being “managers” to more like “consultants.” When the kids are young, parents manage their schedules, including after-school activities and playdates and sometimes even the circle of friends. However, as the kids get older, they do not need (nor want) us to “manage” them, and thus the shift to the role of “consultant” begins.

Continue reading “Resiliency and Self-Efficacy”

Empathy and Compassion for “Our Neighbors”

We have all been moved by the harrowing images of widespread suffering and damage in parts of Texas and Louisiana and unfortunately, it looks like Hurricane Irma is going to hit Florida. It is hard to fully comprehend this level of devastation and the heavy toll Hurricane Harvey is having on the people in its path. Indeed, many members of the One Prep family have connections to the Houston area, making this even more personal and pertinent for our community. Our thoughts, prayers, and support go out to the people known and unknown to us now trying to deal with unimaginable adversity.

Continue reading “Empathy and Compassion for “Our Neighbors””