An Innovative K-8 Lab School In the Heart of Silicon Valley


Oct 26, 2015

From time to time, I refer parents to “Understanding Your Child,” a short booklet which

is published by NAIS. It’s a guide for anxious parents, or in other words, a guide for

parents. A saw a quote that is fairly straightforward and, I feel, is great advice for anyone

who values child development:

“Let kids fall on their faces when they get in trouble. Don’t fight with the school about

protecting children from any kind of blot on their record. And don’t do their homework

for them or let them stay home from school when the work’s not done. If they make a

mistake, you want them to acknowledge it, make amends, and move on.” Fran Norris

Scoble, former Head of Westridge School, Pasadena, California

Westridge is interesting in that it’s an all-girls school that was founded at a time when

women in the United States were denied the right to vote in a free election. Two mothers,

concerned that there was no school for their daughters on the west side of Pasadena, were

responsible for getting the school off the ground.

Think about that – two parents were the founders, and they saw the school as the key, if

not lead partner, in the audacious job of teaching their children to become happy,

fulfilled, successful adults. They weren’t looking for perfection – in schools, in teachers,

in children – they were looking for an environment, as Westridge states, which engaged

their daughter’s “heart, intellect, body and soul.” That was what they expected from the

school and it appears, over the decades, the school has done just that.

And remember, even in independent school environments nothing guarantees a school

year full of bliss. Even if you could find a perfect environment, the results would be

imperfect. Why? Schools are human institutions, and humans are messy; therefore,

schoolwork is incredibly messy work to do. There are difficulties each and everyday,

triumphs and joy too, but not one bit of it is precise or crisp.



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