Voices of The New School | Ruth Swain | May 19, 2020

Dear New School Community,

Since joining The New School in 1984, my mornings have been greeted by tiny hands reaching up and baby-tooth smiles of students who are so happy to see me. Most every day I come home exhausted, but knowing that I’ve gotten to make a difference in the life of a child makes each day worth it.

When I first began, research about brain development and social-emotional learning was just coming out. When the school’s founders chose to adopt it as a foundation to our teaching, they knew this would be one of several strong practices that made The New School’s teaching unique and innovative. This strong foundation has enabled our school to expand over the years to include a lower school, middle school and now a high school with our inaugural graduating class.

Mr. Bill worked from the beginning to ensure that The New School would be a community where teachers know parents, parents are involved in their child’s education, parents support their teachers, and together we would educate the whole child. This would be, and remains, a school that values our families and our children.

We have also continued to nurture a strong appreciation for the arts and academics, as well as athletics as our children grew. When I see a child, who was so shy in my two-year old classroom, take the stage in a musical as a pre-kindergartener, or even in lower or middle school, I can see how their time at The New School has grown their confidence. That confidence to perform on stage is taken back to each classroom where it is fostered by their teachers. 

The New School is not just about academics, it’s about putting all the little pieces together—arts, athletics, work and study skills, parent involvement, and social-emotional learning— to educate the whole child.

Since our founding in 1971, the school has undergone change, we’ve even endured hardship and challenges, but we have continued to grow and evolve. When a two-year-old enters my class, we don’t know what kind of world they will enter after graduation, so we’ve got to be willing to make changes and adapt to the needs of our children today to support them tomorrow.

So, after 36 years at The New School, I’d like to share some advice to our families.

Parents, enjoy the milestones and moments your child is experiencing right now. As they grow, we so often grieve where our child was a year ago, or 5 or 10, that we miss today’s joys. There is so much wonder in each phase of a child’s growth. Observe and cherish those moments now.

Students, The New School is a special place. Your teachers are so focused on you and your education, learn from them. Continue striving to learn more and more. Also, don’t miss the joy around you now by wanting to grow up too soon. Trust me, time goes by so quickly, you’ll get there before you know it.

Because my own daughter attended The New School, I know that your child will learn alongside lifelong friends. They learn from teachers and staff who know, support, and challenge them. They learn through experiences that mold them into adults who are confident and inquisitive.

In my years here, I have had the pleasure of seeing so many children, and their children, and even their children’s children, grow at The New School. Time at The New School and with our children feeds my soul, and for that I am so grateful.

With Cougar Pride,

Ms. Ruth

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