Lake Forest Country Day School has kicked off its fifth annual Speaker Series, a free program open to the public that brings in nationally recognized luminaries in parenting and child development and education.
“We started the program to foster more understanding with our own parent community, but also to make these resources available for friends and neighbors,” says Bob Whelan, Head of School at Lake Forest Country Day.
The school, which serves 400 children from age two through eighth grade, is in its 130th year. The independent private institution is focused on the “whole child,” meaning academics, arts, social and emotional learning, and designed thinking.
“Lake Forest Country Day is a place where children are excited to run in the doors, not a place they’re sent,” Whelan says. “We want to build a school around a sense of connection, so kids feel they belong here.”
This same theme of community applies to the parent series. Whelan says the administration was motivated by the fact that many parents are living in a different world than they grew up in, and it can be hard to navigate.
“Twenty-five years ago, a lot of people lived in communities where there were more family members around. There was often a trusted aunt or grandparent around to offer insight or counsel and help make meaning of the choices you might make as a parent of a young child.”
Now, young parents are more mobile, often moving away from family. They also have access to unlimited amounts of parenting information, thanks to the Internet. This is both helpful and overwhelming.
“There’s a sense that despite having more information at their fingertips than ever, parents have fewer trusted resources,” Whelan says. “So we thought, what if we could bring in the best and the brightest and make it available to our community?”
In September, the lecture series featured Marc Brackett, Ph.D, Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and Professor in the Child Study Center at Yale University. He focused on the role of emotional intelligence in learning, something Lake Forest Country Day School has been focused on as well. The school partners with Yale on a program called RULER, an acronym for recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing, and regulating emotion.
“Research bears it out that social and emotional learning travels right alongside academic learning,” Whelan says.
On October 26, the school will host New York Times best-selling author Dr. Lisa Damour. Her book, Untangled: Guiding Teenage Girls Through the Seven Transitions Into Adulthood is seen as the go-to guide for parents of teenage girls. Though her book focuses on girls, in her lecture she’ll talk about both boys and girls, synthesizing a vast amount of information on raising adolescents into digestible takeaways for parents.
“We feel fortunate to be able to create the opportunity here,” adds Whelan. “We have a commitment to our local community and want to make the information available for families. It’s a win-win opportunity when we can all figure out how to exist, teach, and parent in 2017.”
Lake Forest Country Day School is located at 145 S. Green Bay Road in Lake Forest, 847-234-2350. The lecture series is free and open to the public. Register online or find more information at lfcds.org.