It may not surprise parents and teachers that social media use among middle schoolers and teens is growing. Yet, many of us struggle to make sense of what our kids are doing online. We don’t understand what the fuss is about, and can’t seem to keep up with all the new apps and tools that are popping up. Often teens are more savvy than we might give them credit for. Common Sense Media, a website offering expert, parent and child reviews of technological entertainment, reports that 72% of teens believe that companies manipulate users into spending more time on their devices.
When I vacation with my daughter, Mila, I always look for a local playground. Although she is a good travel buddy, I know my child can only take so much of being a tourist. Watching her play in a group of children, I often find myself reflecting on her childhood and education. My role as Head of the Experiential and Lower Schools for Shorecrest puts me in a unique position to consider how our image of a child informs what we, as parents and faculty look for in a school.
The end of the school year leads us to anticipate new experiences and reflect on the year. Have we learned all we can learn to be prepared for what is to come? Did we manifest our core values and carry out our mission as a school in this academic year?
Emilia Fieseler of Friedrichshafen, Germany, recently spent five weeks as a guest student in the Upper School of Shorecrest Preparatory School. Her time at Shorecrest was a new experience for her and for the students who got to know her. Emilia’s thoughts on her time at Shorecrest give us a more objective lens for reflection on whether the community at Shorecrest lives up to its philosophy and mission. Emilia shared her impressions and opinions with us.
Limiting screen time probably ranks near the top of most “Dreaded Parental Duties” lists. Finding the right balance between “I just need a few minutes of peace” and the endless playback loop of Netflix is never easy. In my house, our rule is no screens after school, since the Bubble Guppies join us for breakfast on many mornings. To tell the truth, I thought I was doing pretty well in the screen-limitation-parenting department, until the afternoon that my three year old tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Mommy, leave the phone down. Play with me.” Clearly, limiting my son’s screen time wasn’t enough. I also needed to check my own digital devices at the door. It was a hard thing to hear.
At Shorecrest, progressive education is not kept behind classroom doors, but something that is shared with the greater community. One could see a prime example on Saturday, January 27, as the School hosted the 3rd annual St. Pete STEAMfest. The outdoor, educational festival is centered on the study of Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math (STEAM). Over 1,000 students and families from all over the Tampa Bay Area experienced more than 40 exhibits and activities at the free admission event. There were robotics demonstrations, arts and crafts, design activities and engineering challenges. Local research and educational centers including Busch Gardens, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry), Great Explorations, iD Tech, and Mathnasium hosted exhibits.