November 30, 2023

Dear Harbor Families, 

I have found, as a parent, that this time of year can bring some confusing messages about gift giving and receiving. On the one hand, we are focused on thinking of those we care about and spending time carefully considering a special gift that will aptly express our feelings. Yet stores, the media, and our inboxes are flooded with advertisements and sales to encourage us to buy, buy, buy. For our kids who are taking in these messages in different ways, it takes a concerted effort to focus on giving during this season (rather than receiving), in the context of this mixed messaging.

In our home, Emily and Jude are of the age to receive and manage a small allowance each week, a few dollars that are split evenly into three sections of their allowance boxes, which are labeled spend, save, and share. Throughout the year, they have the opportunity to manage their “spend money”, using it for things they might want to buy when we are out or on vacation, and learning skills of tracking how much they have, how much things cost, and how to make change. Their “save money” is meant for something really special. Emily saved for nearly a year for a particular doll she had been thinking about, teaching her important skills of patience and the ability to put aside immediate gratification to focus on a future goal, not to mention comparing products for quality and cost. By the way, these financial skills are also taught at Harbor in several ways, including a second grade economics unit called “Marketplace”, which happens towards the end of the school year.

The other day, without prompting, Emily and Jude both asked to take their “share money” as we were planning to run errands - so they could look for Christmas gifts for their family. As we stopped in different stores, rather than focusing on what they wanted for Christmas (although that also certainly happened), their attention was on searching for the perfect gift, at the right cost, for the people they love. It was especially sweet to help them “secretly” buy presents for each other while one of us distracted the other.  

Jude is newer to this having just started receiving allowance this year, but Emily, being a little older now, has given her “share money” to organizations that support causes she cares about, something that we continue to reinforce. She has experienced this culture of giving in the Harbor program, as we are intentional about helping our young children understand the concept of giving and community service in tangible ways that are meaningful to them. Our JK students recently decorated donuts to take to the fire house next door to show gratitude for the firefighters’ service.  The school-wide food drive earlier this month and the upcoming toy drive provide ways to model a culture of giving for our students, and involve them directly. In January, we will be coming together as a community for a service project on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service; stay tuned for more details on that as the date approaches.

As you are thinking about modeling a culture of giving in your family - and considering your pot of “share money” this season - please consider a donation to our Harbor Fund for the Future. In celebration of our 50th year, we are focused on supporting financial aid to provide more access in the community to our very special program. Your donation will support families to attend our school who may not otherwise have the means. We are thrilled to share that we already have 35 donations toward our goal for 50 donations before next Tuesday (a Giving Tuesday community challenge!), and have raised $44,346 toward our $100,000 goal. You can donate in a number of ways, the most convenient way is through this link. We are so grateful for your support!

With gratitude,

Leah Musico
Head of School

Harbor School