Education Matters—Sanford School's Private School Blog

Healthy Minds, Happy Kids

Posted by Authored collaboratively by the Sanford Counseling Team on February 16, 2018 at 12:30 PM

Beat the winter blues by getting high…naturally!

Sanford is looking forward to welcoming Dr. Matt Bellace to campus February 28th. Dr. Bellace is a psychologist, comedian, and passionate public speaker who has been involved in youth drug and alcohol prevention for many years. In his book, A Better High, he shares the acronym L.E.A.D., which lists four ways to focus on achieving a natural high. Today, we’re taking his LEAD to share our thoughts on natural highs.

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Topics: Health & Wellness, Parenting Tips

The Benefits of Student Participation in Community Service

Posted by Olivia Civiletti on January 26, 2018 at 12:30 PM

The benefits that come from supporting one's community are ageless. Community service fosters empathy for people with different needs and encourages good deeds in every aspect of life. No matter the age, students should have the opportunity to experience the sense of fulfillment gained through community service.

The efforts of even one person can be invaluable when it comes to volunteering. Just one student can mobilize a task force, raise money, or advocate for a cause with stunning results. Students are uniquely qualified to take up such a cause as they have access to a serviceable community and willing participants. Schools can provide many outlets for volunteering such as service clubs and fundraising groups. This is an easy way for students to get started helping their community without having to break from their routines.

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Topics: Education, Health & Wellness, Community

Tips for a Healthy Holiday Routine for Children

Posted by Authored collaboratively by the Sanford Counseling Team on December 15, 2017 at 12:00 PM

The holiday break is finally here, giving our students time off from school to enjoy being home with family and friends. While breaks are intended to be a time for rest, they are also often a time of get-togethers that extend past bedtime, long car rides to visit relatives, and second (maybe third) helpings of holiday treats. As we interrupt our normal school and work schedules for a few weeks, it is important to pay attention to healthy routines for our bodies and our minds.

Hang up and hang out! Have you ever ignored your real-life family and friends in favor of phones or devices? Let’s face itwe’ve all been there. And without parental limits over break, our children and adolescents may be tempted to settle into hours of video games, TV, and social media. Take some time to work with your children to create a plan regarding screen time. Encourage everyone to put down those devices during family mealtimes and spend time telling stories or catching up on the day. The American Academy of Pediatrics has an interactive tool that can help you set appropriate expectations for electronics and media-based devices.

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Topics: Academics, Health & Wellness, Parenting Tips

The Hidden Benefits of Chores

Posted by Libbie Zimmer on December 1, 2017 at 12:15 PM
This past weekend, I raked the never-ending supply of leaves and prepared the yard for cooler weather. While working, I remembered a similarly warm autumn weekend when my son, William, was 10. I was dirty, sweaty, thirsty, and tired from the outdoor chores, and found William cozily engrossed in a book. (One he'd read so many times, the spine was no longer intact.)

With irritation in my voice, "Rather than reading that book again, please come help me with the chores!" William earnestly responded, "But mommy, you   like  working in the yard and I don't."  William's right. I do enjoy working in the yard and much of that joy blossomed at an early age when I "had to" do chores. Now, I fondly remember planting tulip bulbs with my dad in the fall, harvesting and "snapping" beans with my grandmother in the summer, and hauling firewood in the winter.
William's reply is important to me for three reasons:  
  • From a young age, he noticed his parents doing chores without complaint but with purpose.
  • As an adult, I connect even laborious childhood chores with some of my most vivid and positive childhood memories.
  • Chores at home fall into two categories:   want  tos  and   have  tos .
Work at school can also feel like a   want to  or a   have to. For instance, a child may like:
  • Calculating numbers but thinks   solving  word problems is arduous
  • Dumping out materials to build but prefers someone else pick up
  • Talking about ideas but doesn't like writing them on paper or via keyboard
  • Creating games on the playground but doesn't like  compromise
  • Being the line-leader but doesn't like being second in line
As parents and teachers, we work hard to keep things fun and exciting for our children, sometimes feeling like we haven't succeeded because our children are indifferent or unwilling. And, if not careful, we even adjust and appease rather than adhering to and restating the expectations.
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Topics: Health & Wellness, Parenting Tips

Advice for Students Beginning their Freshman Year in High School

Posted by Olivia Civiletti on September 8, 2017 at 11:30 AM

While exciting and hopeful, beginnings can also be frightening and uncertain. A student’s freshman year of high school is one of those hopeful, yet undetermined beginnings. You can be anything and do anything which is as much daunting as it is exhilarating. The next four years will help prepare a student for whatever the future holds, so it is very important that it go as smoothly as possible. With awareness and foresight, all of the stress of beginning school can be replaced by the excitement and joy it deserves. To ease the transition from middle to upper school, incoming freshmen should try:


Participating in a fall sport such as volleyball, field hockey, soccer, or cross country means coming to school a few weeks early for fall preseason. This bonding through sports practices makes the transition from middle school smoother as it gives students a head start getting to know people before school gets too busy. Preseason offers a few stress-free, fun, and hard-working weeks in which to get to know some of the other high schoolers. Students also get an opportunity to form a bond with an upperclassman who can give them advice about school.

Joining a few clubs
Joining clubs is a great way for freshmen to quickly get involved in the school’s community and a great way to meet like-minded people. By participating in a club that reflects the student’s interests, he or she is more likely to meet people who have similar interests and values. Clubs are also an excellent opportunity to gain leadership experience. Students can spearhead a club’s project or become part of the leadership of the club itself. These leadership positions sometimes help a college application as it allows colleges see how students apply themselves outside of the classroom.

Going to teachers for extra help
Believe it or not, teachers actually want to help their students as much as they can and want them to achieve all that they are capable of. If the freshmen year classes quickly become harder than expected, students should absolutely approach their teachers for extra help. Whether it be explaining a concept in more depth, doing practice problems, going over a test, or discussing the possibility of dropping the class, teachers are always more willing than students think they are to help the students succeed.

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Topics: Education, Academics, Health & Wellness

List of Back-to-School Essentials

Posted by Olivia Civiletti on August 25, 2017 at 11:30 AM

It’s that time of year! Though I am not talking about the holidays, the beginning of a school year also means a lot of shopping for parents. With the impressive amount of tasks that need to be accomplished, coming up with a comprehensive list of all that needs to be purchased for the upcoming academic year is something that most parents just don’t have time for. Here is a basic list to help guide any parent and child in their search for school supplies.

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Topics: Academics, Health & Wellness, Parenting Tips

Summer Programs: the Learning and Fun Continues Beyond the School Year

Posted by Olivia Civiletti on June 19, 2017 at 5:30 PM

As the school year comes to a close and the end-of-school events fill every waking hour, it can be easy to forget what lies ahead. While the children are getting more and more excited to have three months with no obligations, the parents see the inherent danger in the situation: the kids will be joyous for the first two hours of their newfound freedom and lamenting about their boredom for the rest of the time. Rest assured, this parental dread of summer is not uncommon or unrectifiable. It is a simple matter of planning things for your children to do. To the parents who want to avoid three months of television watching for their children, fear not; here are a few programs to help keep your child engaged over the summer.

On Fridays throughout the summer, the Delaware Museum of Art offers a “Glory of Stories” event in which children ages two and older can go and be read a book, tour some art relevant to the story, then complete an art project. This is a great time for your child to explore creatively, be exposed to all kinds of professional art, then create some art of their own. This fun Friday activity is an awesome weekly opportunity to get out of the house and seek different cultures close to home.

To a child looking to try something new, Wellspring Farm holds a summer riding camp from June 12th through August 14th for all children 6-13 even remotely interested in dabbling in this craft. The children will do things such as receive basic riding instruction, work on their balance, learn about the anatomy of horses and how to care for them, play games, and do crafts. This program teaches children how to be safe with a large animal and bond with their peers and the horses. The week is concluded with a horse show for the children’s family and friends. The children do not have to have any experience riding to participate and will be mentored by the older riders who have more practice and wisdom.

From June 31st through August 4th, the Brandywine River Museum of Art has a camp which offers children ages 9-14 the opportunity to explore their interests in both nature and art. The camp emphasizes exposing the parallels between the beauty of the outdoors and the beauty of painting. They will observe patterns in nature and try to mimic them in artwork of their own. This is an opportunity for intellectual, personal, and social growth and offers opportunities to be exposed to the artwork at the museum.

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Topics: Education, Summer, Health & Wellness

Why are Sports Important to Your Middle School Student?

Posted by Shannon Helmecki on April 26, 2017 at 6:44 PM

Over the last twenty years working with Middle School athletes, I have learned the value of keeping kids active and instilling the importance of lifetime sports at a young age. Often, the lessons learned off the field are greater than the skills and strategies of the game. Many times, these life lessons are so much more impactful than just reaping the benefits of exercise.

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Topics: Athletics, Health & Wellness

Learning Outside: Connecting Children with Nature

Posted by John Bell and Patrick Martin on April 19, 2017 at 5:01 PM

Spring days inspire so many of us to get outside and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. School sports move outside, while playgrounds and parks become alive with families enjoying time together. Many studies also prove that there is a positive educational benefit of connecting young learners with nature. Author and Early Childhood educator from the Yale Child Study Center, Erika Chrstakis states, "Active learning, and especially outdoor play in nature, is essential to healthy human development."  

Connecting children to nature cultivates:
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Topics: Education, Academics, Health & Wellness

Finding Character Education Programs in Schools

Posted by Sanford Counseling Team on March 8, 2017 at 4:10 PM
What if you had to choose whether your child would learn to understand algebra or be a kind person, but not both? Fortunately, we don’t have to make those kinds of decisions because good schools teach both academic skills and interpersonal skills. Most parents have an understanding of the academic concepts taught at schools and can find more specifics in a curriculum guide or a set of grade-level standards.   But, where do you look to find out what schools are doing to help kids grow up to be kind and responsible adults? How do you get a sense of how kids treat each other at a particular school?
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Topics: Education, Academics, Health & Wellness