It’s no surprise that children learn from their parents. As my sons Jack and Henry approach their second birthday, this truth pops up on a daily basis. They recently started attending a Yad b’Yad (side by side) preschool group with other toddlers and parents. Our hope is that they begin to learn that the world is a bigger place than just our home, and that the world doesn’t revolve around them. And we’re right there with them while they are learning, modeling the type of behavior that we want to see.
Children also learn from watching other family members, their peers, and, of course, their teachers at school. One important lesson we hope to impart on students at MA is developing the habit of active citizenship. This involves changing the focus on oneself to focusing on others. Our students are given opportunities to learn inside and outside of the classroom—from the upcoming Conference on Democracy to the Community Action Program to Equity and Justice to Eco-Council to Crossroads—to make the world a better place.
I’m thrilled that we have launched a new program this year in partnership in Youth Leadership Institute (YLI), a nonprofit that engages young people in creating positive social change. The MA Youth Philanthropy Grants Board will assess the needs of the MA student community and award grant money to support student-led projects. Crossroads and Community Action Director Lauren Toker explains, “This program gives students the opportunity to explore how to respond to community need through socially responsible investment. The hope is that students will learn these critical thinking and social enterprise skills here, and apply them later in their lives in their work in the ‘real world.’”
Though we provide fantastic experiences for MA students, parents remain the most influential people in their children’s lives. And our kids know this, and are grateful for it. Rebecca Nelson Sylla ’81 recently completed a wonderful video about what has been made possible through our Annual Fund. Our students know that it is the generosity of those who came before us—parents, alumni, and friends of Marin Academy—that allow us to have dedicated and caring teachers and coaches, beautiful classrooms and fields, and to keep our community vibrant. Though the expression is cliché, it really does take a village.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for continuing to support Marin Academy.