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Posted on May 05, 2011

The Importance of Lemonade Stands

May 5, 2011

For a recently formed faculty/staff book club, several of us are reading Making of a Mind: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs by Ellen Galinsky. Galinsky contends that parents and teachers can help to raise well-rounded, resilient children who can take on life’s proverbial “bumps in the road” by developing their abilities to: 1. Focus and demonstrate self control 2. Consider different perspectives 3. Think critically 4. Communicate effectively 5. Make connections amongst disparate information 6. Take on challenges 7. Become self-directed learners. One key in helping children understand their potential is to nurture what they are genuinely drawn to–the activities that seem to bring them joy and sustain their interest long enough to work past any frustrations. The author describes the lemonade stand that her daughter conceived, organized, and operated when she was seven. “Every child needs a lemonade stand throughout childhood. Caring strongly about interests beyond oneself engenders true focus.” This year Gillispie has pursued avenues for honoring the interests of our upper elementary students. In addition to Linda Jacobs’s A.M. choir, Susan Walters created a twice-weekly art group for students with a passion for studio art who wished to deepen their skills. Chip Edwards facilitated an all-volunteer, multi-age team of blossoming scientists to participate in Rendezvous Engineering Mathematics Science (REMS), a series of evening science bowl competitions. Following a fall semester of music, fifth and sixth grade students worked on improvisation and theater skills with Bryn Fillers, culminating in a production of Hairspray. Finally, Kim Haas has recently started practices to sharpen students’ strategy skills and math prowess for the Greater San Diego Mathematics Council competition (May 18). In all these ways, teachers are providing the means by which students can devote their energies and time to pursuing what they truly enjoy. Who knows where these “lemonade stands” might lead? Alison Fleming Head of School  
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