Learning to Love Learning

DR. ZAN STRUEBING, SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST: Having started a career in education over thirty years ago, my views about educational best practices have naturally changed and grown over time. However, one thing has remained constant, and this one thing is my fervent belief that the greatest gift we can give our children is a genuine love of learning. When children love learning, they commit to a lifetime of seeking knowledge, understanding, and truth. They become the problem solvers who are the true change makers.

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What Can We Take-Away from the Documentary Screenagers?

DR. ZAN STRUEBING, SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST: Recently, The Peck School invited parents, students and members of the greater Morristown area to attend a screening of the thought provoking documentary Screenagers. As the film’s website asks, “Are you watching kids scroll through life, with their rapid-fire thumbs and a six-second attention span?”

For many of us who are equal parts parent and faculty, finding ways to positively navigate the current technological landscape is a high priority.

The site goes on to explain that physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston saw this with her own kids and learned that the average child spends 6.5 hours a day looking at screens. She wondered about the impact of all this time and about the friction occurring in homes and schools around negotiating screen time—friction she knew all too well. The film ultimately reveals how tech time impacts children’s development and offers solutions on how adults can empower kids to best navigate the digital world and find balance.

Several days after the screening, The Peck School scheduled a follow up coffee to allow parents the opportunity to share their thoughts and impressions. Having the opportunity to experience and then discuss timely topics that impact our community is one of my great joys here at Peck. For many of us who are equal parts parent and faculty, finding ways to positively navigate the current technological landscape is a high priority. For this reason, continuing to contemplate the messages delivered in Screenagers is useful.

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Encouraging Mindful Transitions

DR. ZAN STRUEBING, SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST: Transitions – we experience them continually. Sometimes they happen smoothly and seamlessly; we hardly know they are occurring. In other instances, they are rocky, disruptive, and the cause of utter discontent.

If you have the sense of being a little “off,” chances are, once you pause to reflect, you’ll have that “aha” moment that you are in the throes of a transition. Even as I write, I am still basking in the glow of a lovely trip that allowed me to spend time with my daughter in Chicago. I am left with the task of adapting once again to day-to-day life without her. Ah yes, transitioning again.

Students may not have access to the same coping strategies that adults have developed with time and experience.

For our children, transitions are no less significant. Students, though, may not have access to the same coping strategies that adults have developed with time and experience. As we watch a group of students transitioning from home to school, from one class to another, or from unstructured to structured activities, it is strikingly apparent that some children transition more fluidly than others.

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Relationships: What They’re All About

ZAN STRUEBING, SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST:  In the 1966 film Alfie, Burt Bacharach contemplates the meaning of life in the lyrics to the title song (in which he writes the question, “What’s it all about, Alfie?”) During the musings of childhood, the angst of adolescence, or the demands of adulthood, I suspect we have all questioned what truly matters in life, and many of us have arrived at a similar conclusion: It’s all about relationships.

I suspect we have all questioned what truly matters in life…

Yet as much as we value our relationships, I suspect we sometimes behave in ways that do not fully honor our connections. We get caught up in schedules, deadlines, earning, winning, and being right.

In the moment, life’s demands and distractions seem inescapable. However, when we pause, step back, and contemplate, we realize that there is truly room to prioritize our relationships. Doing so doesn’t require more time or effort; it just requires a thoughtful approach to connecting and the cultivation of some good habits.

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