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Oak Knoll School Blog

Re-Entering School’s Atmosphere: Lessons Learned from Apollo 11

Posted by Michele Proia on Sep 4, 2019 11:00:00 AM

One of the most exhilarating and unifying moments of the 20th century was the Apollo 11 mission to the moon. During several hot July days in 1969, people all over the world were glued to a television or radio anxiously following the astronauts’ progress to outer space and awaiting Commander Neil Armstrong’s first words as he stepped onto the moon. Willing to put aside global tensions for a bit, we became citizens of the world as we watched Armstrong and fellow astronaut Buzz Aldrin, gleeful and childlike, bouncing and driving along the dusty and hilly and mysterious lunar surface.

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Topics: back-to-school, wellness, building confidence, first day of school

5 Ways to Start the School Year Off Right

Posted by Meghan Hodgin on Aug 20, 2019 11:00:00 AM

Parents get ready; it’s almost time for your child to go back-to-school! For many, this can be a stressful time. Transitions at any age are an adjustment and the earlier you can start preparing your child for the change in routine, environment, workload, friends, etc., the less stress there is for everyone.

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Topics: elementary school, parenting, separation anxiety, kindergarten ready

How to Help a Grieving Child

Posted by Adriana B. Dunn, Ph.D. & Laura K. Palmer, Ph.D. on May 6, 2019 11:00:00 AM

As parents and educators, our focus is to protect children, to shield them from distress and to create environments that foster their growth and development. While we usually manage to navigate the day-to-day situations and stressors that children face without too much difficulty, we are often at loss when faced with having to talk to children about death. How much do we tell them? Will they be able to understand? Will they get too upset? What if they show no emotion? When do we seek outside support?

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Topics: parenting, student advice, wellness, social and emotional learning, building confidence, mental health

Pardon my French: Why the Language of Love Is Still Relevant

Posted by Michele Proia on Apr 29, 2019 11:00:00 AM

Very rarely do we question the practical, lifelong applications of a high school class. When was the last time you wondered, for instance, whether Ohm’s Law would be useful in your career? Or, does knowing that James Buchanan was our 15th President have an impact on your earning capacity? And, what about those sines and cosines — what practical meaning could they possibly offer to your life? With foreign language, however, the “useful” question invariably comes up and many times families choose a course of language study based upon its pragmatic value. So, let’s explore the practical side of learning language in general and learning French in particular.

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How to Talk to Your Child about Mental Health

Posted by Dr. Jennifer Butler-Sweeney, Ph.D. on Apr 22, 2019 11:00:00 AM

As parents and educators, we seek to put our teen’s behaviors, emotions and difficulties into mutually exclusive categories that we can readily understand and, by extension, start the processing of fixing. This assuages our own anxieties about being ineffective in our children’s lives and, replaces that inner parental angst with controllable variables in the form of actionable items and measurable gains. If your teen comes home expressing that nothing in math class is making sense, parents may act in the straightforward response of contacting the teacher or enlisting the help of a tutor, should one not already exist. This is an “easy one” as parenting goes, in that the direction is clear and there is a reasonable expectation that this intervention will fix or at least mitigate the problem.

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Topics: high school, elementary school, parenting, middle school, wellness, building confidence, mental health

Do Games Belong in the Classroom?

Posted by Alex Podchaski on Apr 15, 2019 11:00:00 AM

Modern classrooms are awash in technology. From devices to 3D printers to robotics, there seems to be no end to the different activities that engage our students. Although it appears it is the gadgets and gizmos that have our students’ attention, it is more likely the way teachers are choosing to employ the various technologies. Instead of simple lessons or projects, many teachers use the concept of gamification to get students learning on a deeper level.

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Topics: technology, classroom, project-based learning

Building Confidence in Middle School Girls

Posted by Nicole Johnston on Apr 8, 2019 11:00:00 AM

While sitting on the beach last summer, I watched my 5-year-old goddaughter walk over to a little girl she did not know, introduce herself, and ask her to play. Two girls, who never met, becoming fast friends. They would spend the day building sandcastles, sharing snacks, and running in and out of the ocean – not thinking twice about the waves that towered over them. Most likely this is a common story experienced by many beach-goers. Insert a middle school girl into this picture, and the story line completely changes. The middle school girl will never make that initial introduction and will not run in and out of the ocean carefree. Why? Because all those initiatives we easily took when we were young, involve taking a risk. Girls’ capacity to take risks diminishes as they grow older starting around their middle school years.

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Topics: all-girls, middle school, building confidence

5 Benefits of Small Class Sizes

Posted by Meghan Hodgin on Apr 1, 2019 11:00:00 AM

There are proven benefits of small classroom sizes - from increased achievement to higher graduation rates. The way students learn and perform are significantly impacted by a small classroom environment - specifically those with fewer than 20 children. Students are more likely to receive individualized attention, which enhances learning opportunities, improves behavior, builds a community and produces overall better results, from test scores to grades.

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Topics: teaching, classroom, elementary school, tips, success skills

Why I’m Not Surprised by the ‘College Admissions Scandal’

Posted by Kathleen Moriarty Skiff '75 on Mar 25, 2019 11:00:00 AM

The U.S. Department of Justice recently charged several people around the country in an alleged scheme to bribe their way into some of the nation’s most selective colleges. This case has captured the attention of many – especially college-bound students and their parents. In the past two weeks, I have been asked numerous times if I am surprised by the cheating and bribery that has been uncovered in this case. I am sorry to say, I am not surprised.

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Topics: admissions, parenting, student advice, college counseling

5 Things to Do Before Applying for Financial Aid

Posted by Meghan Hodgin on Mar 18, 2019 11:00:00 AM

The financial aid application process can be stressful for many families. While we are unable to provide an all-encompassing guide — as the process to apply for financial aid can be different at each school — it is our hope that by following these simple steps before applying for financial aid, you will be prepared to complete your application with ease.

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Topics: admissions, private school

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