Our Wildwood, Winter 2017, Volume 40
sponsored forums, air our grievances and think we are done. We need continuous dialogue with other parents, our children, and their educators, with the hope that over time we will all be better equipped to navigate the challenges created by technology.” As Rob put it, this night was just a step on the path that the Wildwood community takes. A path marked by its reflection, humor, and camaraderie, one that never goes away. After every technology parent evening, groups of Wildwood parents gathered together in people’s homes to continue the learning and the dialogue. Tim Arnold would be proud. While their children have already received their diplomas, parent education devotees Susan Stockton (Rollin ’16) and Caitlin Wootton (Clem ’15) frequently participate in alumni parent book groups. Pinpointing the power of the
program all about forging strong relationships inside and outside the classroom. The pedagogy also asks students to lean in and participate while in relationship. It’s easy and safe just to listen to a lecture. It’s something else entirely to grapple with other learners, share stories to back up one’s perspective, and question an assumption in the room. K–12 Wildwood students do this every day in their classrooms. While at parent education events, parents get the opportunity to also learn this way. TAKING IT WITH YOU While my father told me never to trust a man with two first names, my first teaching mentor was a man named Tim Arnold. I came to trust Tim deeply. He used to drink seven cups of coffee and smoke a pack of cigarettes a day. Tim once
shared that his favorite moment of the day was when his students walked out in the hallway and on to the next class. I looked at him, puzzled. “That is when,” he said in his signature raspy voice, “they take what they learned from your classroom and apply it, use it, and make something of it. It’s what really matters.” Tim’s “walking away” phenomenon happens to parents, too. After a middle school technology evening, Rob Solomon said, “While there was
Wildwood endeavors to conduct its parent education program in a way that mirrors the progressive pedagogy of its teachers.
a diverse set of opinions expressed about the negative—or should I say challenging—issues presented by technology, there was consensus that the discussions need to keep happening. We can’t meet once or twice a year at school-
parent-to-parent connection, Caitlin says, “Showing up and talking with others at parent ed. events made so much more of an impact than just reading or viewing material on my own. I connected with parents by sharing our experiences in confidence, without judgment.” And Susan, who served as a parent education co-chair as well as the WWPO middle and upper school president, agrees that connection is at the heart of parent education at Wildwood. “I was able to connect with like-minded parents, compassionate teachers, and engaged administrators,” she says. “I was able to connect with the Habits [of Mind and Heart] in a way that they became part of our family’s culture.” It is noteworthy when our young people’s home lives and school lives share values and culture. When the significant adults in our children’s lives are aligned, joined together by a common mission and a community, children will be reflective scholars and confident leaders who know how to use their minds and hearts well, and they will be vital community members like their parents and their educators—together—modeled for them. WW
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