Mountain Connections featuring Beginning School Principal Emma Wellman
Rowland Hall parents/caregivers are our partners in education. The more tools we can give adults to help their students, the better the outcome for all of us.
When we use the phrase "community of learners" to describe our school, we truly mean it. We strive to offer adults at Rowland Hall—teachers, administrators, trustees, and parents and caregivers—opportunities for growth and development, just as we do for our students.
Mountain Connections featuring Lower School Principal Jij de Jesus
Mix Morning Fix featuring Middle School Social-Emotional Support Counselor Leslie Czerwinski
Featuring fifth-grade teacher Jen Bourque
Parenting is hard. Teaching is hard. But both are a little bit easier when done in partnership. Join princiPALS Emma Wellman and Jij (pronounced “Jay”) de Jesus as they examine some of the most common questions and concerns about the preschool and elementary school years, and share methods on how to raise children who thrive.
When you enroll your student at Rowland Hall, your family joins a caring community that values your participation—at the classroom level, in our parent-school organization, in parent/caregiver education opportunities, supporting the arts and sports, and in helping to make the “extras” in “extraordinary” possible for every student.
The princiPALS are back in the office to revisit one of today’s most essential topics: how to talk to kids about race.
Since recording their first episode on this subject—which won a silver InspirED Brilliance Award—in February 2020, princiPALS Emma Wellman and Jij de Jesus have often reflected on the importance of returning to this conversation. The need to do so was made especially clear after recent events, including ongoing violence against people of color, have continued to underscore our collective need to examine and talk about racism.
Demonstrations and discussions about racial inequity in this country initiated a massive shift in the conversations about race and racism.—Emma Wellman, Beginning School principal
“Demonstrations and discussions about racial inequity in this country initiated a massive shift in the conversations about race and racism,” said Emma.
And because these conversations don’t just happen among adults, the princiPALS wanted to give parents and caregivers tools that will help them teach children how to have thoughtful conversations about race and racial differences. With their trademark warmth and approachability—and their understanding of how children learn best during the early childhood and elementary years—Emma and Jij provide listeners with strategies to help kids develop positive racial identity and awareness and to teach the skills and vocabulary necessary to comfortably and respectfully discuss race.
“We’re talking about having the attitudes, capacities, and skills to navigate a diverse and dynamic world,” said Jij.
The princiPALS also give listeners tips to model antiracist behaviors for children, including simple steps that they can start using today to help dismantle racism, since, as Jij noted, “small choices can add up to make a big impact.”
- Raising Race-Conscious Children
- PBS Utah’s Let’s Talk: Talking to Kids about Race
- Your Kids Aren't Too Young to Talk about Race: Resource Roundup
In the newest episode of Rowland Hall’s award-winning princiPALS podcast, Beginning School Principal Emma Wellman and Lower School Principal Jij de Jesus discuss some of the most inspiring things they’ve learned (so far) while educating preschool- and elementary-aged children during the pandemic.
During the first months of in-person instruction since March, the princiPALS have learned a lot about the capability of children, the power of good teaching, and the strength of community.
Recorded during the 14th week of Rowland Hall’s 2020–2021 school year, Emma and Jij reflect on leading their divisions during the first months of in-person instruction since the school moved to full distance learning in March. During that time, they said, they’ve learned a lot about the capability of children, the power of good teaching, and the strength of community. And though they’re aware that schools across the country are dealing with different learning models and regional challenges, they believe that their perspectives on in-person learning during the pandemic may help other educators—as well as answer some of the many questions parents and caregivers have as schools readjust learning models in 2021.
“Our hope is that these important things we’ve learned are helpful to anyone out there,” said Jij.
The princiPALS also draw on their top lessons to create tips that will help parents and caregivers continue to support children (and themselves) at this time, with an emphasis on making intentional choices rather than, as Emma noted, “letting the world wash over you.”
Kids are noticing race and racial differences all the time, and they’re getting messages about race and racial differences all the time. It’s our job as grownups to positively and proactively give them messages about race too.
Depending on your background and experiences, this topic may feel uncomfortable or unpleasant—especially if you’ve never been exposed to these kinds of discussions before. But, as the princiPALS explain, kids are naturally curious and need help processing what they see around them, so caregivers need to learn to embrace these moments.
“Kids are noticing race and racial differences all the time, and they’re getting messages about race and racial differences all the time,” said Jij. “It’s our job as grownups to positively and proactively give them messages about race too.”
Join Jij, Emma, and host Conor Bentley ’01 as they unpack common fears around talking about race and bias (including the role socialization plays), explore studies on kids and race, and identify tips that will help listeners feel more prepared to have these conversations when they come up.
The princiPALS recommend the following resources on talking to children about race:
• The National Association for the Education of Young Children’s anti-bias education website
• Sesame Workshop’s Identity Matters study
• NurtureShock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman
• PBS Utah’s Let’s Talk: Talking to Kids about Race
• Your Kids Aren't Too Young to Talk about Race: Resource Roundup
• Anti-Racist Books
Update January 11, 2021: This episode won silver for a single podcast episode in the 2020 InspirED Brilliance Awards. Sample judges' comments: "The branding of the podcast itself is excellent. The topic is timely and I appreciated hearing about the research and action items to take. Terrific resource! The concept of interviewing the two school heads together (the PrinciPALS) is strong and the advice is timely. Really smart advice, well-presented."
The princiPALS are back.
What exactly is it?
Is it a good thing?
What does it look like for students during their early childhood and elementary school years?
While, for many, academic rigor is simply a way to describe curriculum difficulty, the princiPALS show how it encompasses accessing, evaluating, and using knowledge—and what that looks like today, when students can instantly retrieve vast quantities of information on the internet.
In an ever-changing world, it is more important than ever to teach students how to think, not what to think.
In an ever-changing world, the princiPALS explain, it is more important than ever to teach students how to think, not what to think. “We need students who know their academic content, but also can apply it in new and novel ways,” said Jij. In other words: it’s less about what students know, but when and how they use knowledge that will best prepare them for the future. While traditional education methods focused on memorizing and regurgitating facts to display knowledge, today’s students thrive when they joyfully engage in the learning process, successfully evaluate and apply knowledge, and collaborate with others.
We invite you to join Emma and Jij, along with host Conor Bentley ’01, as they discuss the ways educators, parents, and caregivers can help children become engaged, flexible, deep thinkers. Listeners will also enjoy practical tips that will help them raise lifelong learners and future innovators.