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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Power of the Outdoor Classroom

This article in The Atlantic peels back all of the layers associated with making the "outdoor classroom" a vital component of a preprimary education.  Stressing the importance of the outdoors in the learning process has been a part of a ULS education since the school's inception.

The Perks of a Play in the Mud Education

Friday, November 17, 2017

Brain Based Learning

The field of Education is always full of a variety of buzz words and lingo.  "Hot"education topics are very seasonal and seem to come and go like the latest fashion. However,  Brain Based Learning, a current popular education topic, is not a fleeting one.  Brain Based Learning is a bridged discipline between neurology, and the science of education, where educational psychology plays a key role.  Understanding how the brain actually functions in order to learn seems like it should be a foundational element to the study of education, but it is a fairly recent  component to the discipline. The author, Cepee Tabibian, offers a great introduction to the topic on the website Cognifit Health, Brain & Neuroscience.  The basics of Brain Based Learning  are a helpful parenting tool as well.  Please read more in Tabibian's article:

Brain Based Learning What is It and How to Apply It

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Why Upper School Students are Expected to Play a Sport at ULS

At University Lake School, we require Upper School students to participate in athletics, the arts and service along with a rigorous academic load.   Is a schedule this robust sometimes hard to manage for teens?  Of course!  Does it teach them to create a vibrant rich life in which they are well rounded?  Of course!   Why should athletics be a part of the mix of requirements?  A few of the most important rationales for playing athletics in high school include: the importance of learning to work together as a team, creating a pattern of being physically active, learning the art of self-discipline and often times fostering the ability to push oneself outside of one's comfort zone.  In addition to these reasons, Kevin Kniffin, Professor of Leadership and Management in Sports at Cornell University, adds another spin to why high school athletics are so important.  In his New York Times article, Kniffin talks about addition lifetime benefits of playing sports in high school.  See the attached article.

High School Athletes Display Lifetime Benefits

Monday, August 14, 2017

Choosing a College

Obviously, we talk to our children about the types of things they need to do in order to be accepted to a college.  Earning good grades, taking the right classes, preparing for the ACT and involvement in meaningful extracurricular activities may be a a few of the  recommendations we offer up.   In addition to helping your child obtain the credentials needed for college acceptance, another important exchange to have with them is about the importance of selecting a college that is their right fit. The college experience can be an incredibly powerful tool in shaping the adult your child will become, therefore helping them find that truly perfect school is crucial.  This article from "Prepscholar" discusses some of the key questions that ULS students are faced  with through our college counseling process. These questions show that one of the most important elements that helps a high school student in selecting the right college for them  is having a firm understanding of self. That is a pretty tall order for a 17 or 18 year person, but if we work with our children to reflect often and think independently from the onset of their schooling, they will be well prepared for this important decision as Juniors and Seniors in High School. Read more below ....

What College Should I Go To?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Digital Citizenship and Kids

We know as parents that it is our responsibility to help our children become good citizens, but what does this mean when so much human interaction takes place via a virtual world? Our children need to learn an entirely new code of etiquette as well as safety protocol that was non-existent when we were children.   Brittany Oler of Cyberwise addresses the importance of etiquette in the following statement:

Etiquette is a code of behavior that defines expectations for social behavior. Children who grow up without learning this important code may not develop important social relationship skills for interacting with others and are at a greater risk of conflict when interacting with their peers.  

This risk of conflict can actually be more dramatic in a digital environmental in which body language, tone and often context are removed from communication.  In addition, a false veil of anonymity often entices people to say things they would never say in person.  

Please read Dr. Shabbi Luthra's article below.  It offers detailed advice on how to help your child navigate in an ever changing digital world.  

Good Digital Citizenship for Kids

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Raising an Independent Thinker

One of the key ingredients to the University Lake School Educational Platform is Independent Thinking.  Independent Thinking involves coming up with unique ideas, questioning conventions, solving problems in a new way and/or solving new problems. Historically, independent thinkers have become the leaders and boundary breakers in engineering, business and the arts.  They are the men and women that make history and create paradigm shifts in culture.  What parent does not want their child to grow up to be one of these impactful members of society?

Independent Thinking goes far beyond creating successful strong leaders though.  Studies show that independent thinkers are simply more confident.  Confident people tend to lead a happier and more satisfying life. Leadership expert, Anna Martin, discusses how a healthy sense of self is intricately related to independent thinking skills.  "Being able to think independently opens up a wealth of potential knowledge. It enables you to become more discerning about the things you hear, see and believe and helps you question values and assumptions. Independent thinking also hones your personal skills on many other levels, including the building of confidence in your ability to stand up for your beliefs."  Beyond outward success, this internal success is truly what we desire for our children.  

The following article offers simple ways to help foster your child to be an independent thinker at home.  It is geared toward younger children but, it would be very easy to modify the suggestions to be fitting for older children as well.  The overarching theme of all of the suggestions is to treat your child like an intelligent, capable and independent person.  Have "real conversations" with your child that involve evoking their opinions and actually listen to their responses.  With this simple approach watch your child grow into a strong independent thinker. 

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Raising an Independent Thinker

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Nature and Learning

This article reiterates what we at ULS already know.  Using nature as a classroom has a profound impact on learning.  We are at ease in nature yet captivated.  This is the perfect emotional combination for children and adults to learn.  Our 180 acre campus of sheer natural beauty provides such an environment for all that spend time on  Hawk Hill.

Why Nature Makes the Best Classroom