Babies and different strokes for different folks

I recently watched the documentary, “Babies,” and it has haunted me since.  It’s a simple 70+ minute glimpse at the first year of four babies in San Francisco, Tokyo, Namibia, and Mongolia.  The majority of the footage is of the babies alone, or maybe with an older sibling.  There is no narration, dialog is not translated or subtitled, and the director creates no plot,  But it was fascinating and the cinematography is stunning.  The babies have so much in common–confirming what we know about human nature and child development–but the differences in their lives, the parenting that does or doesn’t take place, and the variety of opportunities and interactions they all have, are shocking.  Curl up with your children some afternoon over break and see what conversations spring up about parenting, childhood, different cultures, and your own family stories.  NB: there is cultural nudity.

21st Century School

I recently went to a lecture by the President of the National Association of Independent Schools, Pat Bassett, on the 21st Century School. He is calling for major changes in education, citing the changes in culture which render the last hundred years of education irrelevant. He argued that the traditional concept of the teacher as “expert”, a core “canon” of memorized information, and the ability to perform on multiple-choice tests are becoming laughable in a globally connected culture, where we can look up the Treaty of Trenton in 30 seconds on our smartphone and where we might collaborate with colleagues in multiple countries. He challenges schools to refocus their curriculum on Collaboration, Creativity, Character, Communication, and Critical Thinking. Click here to read Pat Bassett’s blog–he’s a brilliant and inspiring educator. Of course, thanks to Maria Montessori, Barb Fulton, and a host of wonderful teachers, this is what we are already doing at TFS! Next year we will be systematically highlighting these strengths for you at all age levels and throughout all the subject areas.