Charleston Day School
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Head Of School

Holiday Message from the Head of School

December 20

Dear Charleston Day School Families,

Recently, my husband Peter and I went to see A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, the new Tom Hanks movie about Fred Rogers, the legendary creator of the television show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. I have long admired Fred Rogers for his ability to create a caring and kind environment for children to understand the challenges of childhood and to believe that they are wonderful “just the way they are.” There was a great deal of thought and research that went into the creation of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. In addition to being an ordained minister of the United Presbyterian Church, Rogers attended the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Child Development, where he met child psychologist Margaret McFarland. The two began a long-term collaboration focused on creating programming that would be developmentally appropriate and focus on the social-emotional needs of children. One of the results was Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, which ran for more than thirty years, entertaining generations of children.

Over the course of its decades-long run, Rogers’ show varied little. He approached his young audience with respect and a directness about issues children faced that were rarely touched on by other programs at the time. In talking about his show, he wrote, “The world is not always a kind place. That’s something all children learn for themselves, whether we want them to or not, but it’s something they really need our help to understand.” That statement reminded me of the commitment that Charleston Day School has to character development through a mission that focuses on respect, responsibility, scholarship and integrity.

In many ways, Charleston Day School is doing exactly what Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood did for generations of children – creating a space for students to feel safe, known and cared about. In fact, there is significant research that supports that Kindergarten through 8th grade schools like Charleston Day School are the best educational models for children aged 5 through 14. In K-8 schools, children excel and become the best versions of themselves. Charleston Day School is a place where “kindness is king” and where every person has a talent to be celebrated. It is a place where academics and social-emotional wellness go hand in hand. It is a place that Mr. Rogers would have loved.

As we head into the holiday break, I wanted to share the following quote from Fred Rogers: “I’ve been thinking about what I’d like to give you for Christmas. I’d really like to give you something that just fits your own wishes and needs the way my shoes just fit me. I suppose the thing I’d like most to be able to give you is hope. Hope that through your own doing and your own living with others, you’ll be able to find what best fits for you in this life…I, for one, wish you good memories of this holiday. And I hope you’ll be able to look for all the different ways that people have of showing that they love you.”

I could not have said that better. Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday with plenty of time for creating new memories and celebrating heartfelt family traditions.

With warmest holiday wishes,

Happy Holidays!
Wishing you a wonderful holiday break.
We look forward to seeing you in 2020.

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