From the Head: The election and beyond

Dear Parker Community,

Parker practices a progressive model of education. Each progressive school tends to invent itself, and yet all trace their roots to the thoughts of American educator and philosopher, John Dewey.

One characteristic that progressive schools have in common, stemming from Dewey’s ideals, is that we seek to educate children so that they have the skills necessary to participate in a democratic society. At Parker, we practice this by letting students have choice and voice whenever possible. We hold morning meetings and afternoon closing circles, and we cultivate an atmosphere where students listen, and are listened to, with respect. We believe that by caring about students as active learners and thinkers, they will grow into people who will be active thinkers and citizens in the years to come.

Voting is but one way to participate in a democratic society, and I hope that if you are eligible to vote, you will participate in this election. I would normally encourage parents to bring their children along when they go to their polling place. This may not be possible or wise this particular election year. Without a doubt, though, we are living during a time that history will refer to for years to come. If you can, I encourage you to write a letter to your child(ren) today or tomorrow, perhaps saving it for the day when they are voting for the first time, and record some of your thoughts and reflections about this election.

The aftermath of any election brings strong emotions of elation and disappointment. Young children who overhear strong emotions may interpret this as something they need to be immediately fearful of, so we all need to take care about what they hear. Older students may want to participate in discussions about the election– and they should have an opportunity for this.

Once we are together again on November 4, students and adults will continue to listen and to practice speaking with respect. We will continue to support the participatory educational community that we care about and affirm education’s role in building the future.


Laura Graceffa

Head of School