Nurturing Success

Hilary WallerAs a mom of two little girls, Molly (5) and Emily (8 weeks), I dream constantly about the adults they will become. What will they look like? What will they do professionally? Will they be happy? Self confident? Motivated? Brave? And then the scary question… HOW DO I HELP THEM? How can I make sure they become self assured and outspoken adults who care and contribute? As a psychotherapist, who works with parents of young children, I speak daily with eager moms and dads who ask these same questions. When my own parents asked these questions themselves, they found the answer at Meadowbrook. We recognize the gift and impact of Meadowbrook’s small size, which uniquely allows each teacher to nurture each student according to his or her individual learning style and character. But successful education and child development lies not in the mission statement itself, but in how the mission is brought to life by the teacher.

In the Fall of 1988 I was new to Meadowbrook, a student in Mrs. Leiby and Mrs. Prego’s K-5 class. One day in the beginning of the school year, my best friend Vicki Freedman and I decided that the school needed a fashion show. We shared our idea with our teachers, who not only encouraged us to move forward with it, but who helped us schedule a meeting with Mr. Sarkisian, the headmaster, to discuss an all-school event. “Spring Fashions” would be a year long project for the kindergarten, culminating in a fashion show before the entire school with parents invited. Almost 30 (WOW 30?) years later I still remember “pitching” our idea to Mr. S. I remember making posters with my classmates and directing the creation of a flyer/ invitation. I remember meeting with Madame, Sandi Packel, so that Vicki and I could describe each other’s fashions in French. To my parents, the show was adorable and the process hilarious. What struck them then and me now, however, is the brilliance of the Meadowbrook culture. Two five-year-olds were encouraged to be leaders not just of their class, but in their community, and the school absolutely embraced us. Empowering children to set big goals and assume great responsibility, gently guiding them along the journey- this is how we raise our kids to become competent, caring, motivated, industrial adults. Meadowbrook’s culture is second to none in this effort.

Hilary Yolin Waller ’94

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