February 29, 2024

Dear Harbor Families,

Parenting young children is complex. On the one hand, we can, to a certain extent, manage our children's environments, filter the content and messages they are exposed to, and support them in their interactions with others in their small communities. On the other hand, there are many aspects of our surrounding culture, which may or may not align with our belief systems, that our kids experience regardless of our efforts. For example, images on billboards during road trips, implicit messaging in the stores we shop in, and even adult conversations they may inadvertently overhear are sending messages to young kids all the time.

As children get older, we are faced with further questions such as how to monitor content, supervise communications on social media, and support children in increased independence. In the past months, for the first time, Emily, our ten year old, has had play dates with friends whose parents I didn’t know (gasp!), started to walk a block home from a neighbor’s house by herself, and gotten her first smart watch (gps tracking for those independent walks)! 

In my experience, both as a parent and working with families in schools, there is a careful balance between keeping our own values and priorities as a family in mind without becoming too focused on trying to control our children’s experiences. Starting at a young age, the more we can empower kids to think through issues and give them opportunities to make choices - and yes, make mistakes, but in safe environments - the better prepared they will be for the increased independence to come. 

In the coming weeks, we are pleased to share two opportunities for discussions on aspects of parenting. Tomorrow, we are excited to welcome Emily Simon from Simon Says Snooze, who will present ideas to support good sleep habits for young children. This session is designed for families with preschool aged children, but of course everyone is welcome to attend.

In two weeks on March 15th, our DEI Committee will be hosting a session on choosing books for your child. We’ll explore concepts such as seeing books as both “windows” to other experiences and perspectives, and “mirrors” of our own, as well as discuss how to choose diverse books that represent the world we live in and communicate messages of inclusivity and compassion. 

We hope you will join us for these sessions to explore and discuss and share in our parenting journeys!

Warm regards,

Leah Musico
Head of School

Harbor School