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“Knowing your child” 

Dear BFS Families,

This phrase can mean so many things and encompass so many emotions.  As a parent, it can evoke the moments where I know my child will be reactive, delighted, engaged or turned off.  With those moments evoked, come all the associated ways in which I, as the parent, have tried to manage or support my son and daughter to avoid the meltdown or encourage bravery.  We have a bag of tricks designed to respond to every situation we can anticipate. These are the short term goals.

The longer vision, the one that I want to focus on now, affects how we plan for less immediate situations, like: where to go to school, where to live, what kind of a lifestyle we need to sustain our values.  Planning for these situations can depend upon the kind of people we are. It can be an imperative; something we couldn’t imaging not considering. But, it can also feel like a luxury, to have the time to be so purposeful. Many of us move between these states, depending upon the resources and energy we have.  When we find ourselves at the natural points where these decisions are upon us, we often feel we never have enough time to make these choices.

As educators, when we want to uncover something or know a child more deeply, we observe that child in various situations and contexts. We take notes and pay attention to the photographs and videos we have collected to get clues about the child or children we are observing.  This practice becomes easier as we do it, becoming ingrained; so, every moment we share is a point of knowledge that we can use to understand a child’s motivations and needs better. You, as parents, do this innately. You know your child better than any other person. While your context may be different than the classroom, your knowledge of your child is based on countless experiences, trials, shifting variables and reinvention as they grow.  You are your child’s best expert and best advocate.
If all this sounds a bit like a science research project, it is because that is exactly what it is. We come from the foundation that all children react from stimulus.  We may be lucky enough to uncover its origin, or not. The assumption is the same. Children do not just act out. They are responding to situations, people and settings.  It is our job to identify the situations, people and settings that support them and give them room to thrive. This requires an honest assessment of who they really are. What is my child’s temperament?  How does he or she react in a crowd, with intimacy, when confronted with conflict or excitement? How do I support him or her?

What does all of this mean about how to plan?

Uncovering and knowing your child allows you to make decisions that will support her or him as they grow.  What environments does my child enjoy, feel comfortable in or feel energized by? Sometimes, the most appealing situation/school “on paper” is not the one that meets your child in a way that fosters their growth.  For instance, a school may offer a lot in the way of academic enrichment, but have an atmosphere that is so intense, it would cause certain temperaments to shut down. Or, a school can be so loose in its format that only the most self directed can benefit from the experience.  

In this discovery process, you can use your child’s teachers as a resource.  While you are your child’s first expert, your child’s classroom is a valuable source of information about how interactions, personal connections and learning environments can affect the ability of a child to thrive.  Sometimes, it is hard to hear this information, especially if it does not seem to fit with your own assessment. Our goal is to be a resource to you; so, ask questions, challenge ideas if you need to and seek another perspective during your Parent Teacher Conference.  The conference can be a place for you to sound out ideas about the next school choices for your child, the right kind of camp experiences and routines that foster resilience and growth.

Medina Khalil
Please Note:

In line with the Department of Education conference schedule, students will be dismissed after lunch on Wednesday, March 13, at 12:30 p.m.  On Wednesday only, from 1:00-6:30 p.m. in the big room, we will have one teacher to serve as free childcare during your conference time. Please utilize this service thoughtfully, only dropping off at the beginning of your conference and picking up directly afterward.  At any time, we are aiming for no more than 7 children in the big room to keep ratios intact. (Families that have pre-registered for Wednesday after school will be reimbursed.)
Thursday, March 14th is a regular school day, including early bird and after school.

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Medina Khalil - Executive Educational Director | Mikia Eatman - Operations Director | Daniela Vancurova - Educational Assistant Director

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Brooklyn Free Space · 298 6th Avenue · Brooklyn, NY 11215 · USA

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