Ask anyone to describe a great school and “commitment to continuous improvement” will be one of the qualities on their list. The immense success of The Country Day School graduates in their post-secondary programs and careers is clear evidence that we offer a superior educational experience.
At the same time, we are deeply committed to continually improving our approach. The School's commitment to research and innovation is a driving force in our ongoing professional growth and support of the parent community.
The Growing Mind
In providing education with balance, The Country Day School focuses on three key areas: challenging the student, developing the mind and strengthening the character. In reality, these three spheres of change and growth are inseparable: they overlap in a mutually supportive manner as they contribute to the development of the whole person.
There is a regular feature inside The Link – the CDS community magazine – entitled The Growing Mind, which may at first glance appear to belong to the “developing the mind” sphere. However, like anything to do with how our minds grow and change, the articles you will find there are focused on what Aristotle called eudaimonia – human flourishing. We flourish when our needs and interests are connected and in balance. The accessible and engaging articles on topics of current research in child growth and development you will find in The Growing Mind provide knowledge that can help you and your children thrive.
Finding the Right Path for our Kids
Recognizing that our children are unique individuals means keeping an open mind about their post-secondary options.
Parents who expect their children to achieve an A-average and become future leaders. Students who believe they have to study law, medicine, business or engineering at the best universities in order to be successful. Private schools that sell themselves primarily on the number of Ivy League spots their graduates fill. A pervasive sense within young people of not achieving enough or being as good as their peers.
Newly emerging research tells us that these are fairly typical scenarios within families that choose an independent school education. Of course, there are many reasons to make this choice: small class sizes, exceptional teachers, an engaging learning environment, a warm community, lifelong friendships, and a range of extra-curricular activities for growth and fun. But running parallel to these benefits are expectations among some families that their children should excel in school and then eventually compete for the most lucrative or influential positions in life. And that if they don’t, parents and children alike have failed.
What matters is the right fit
If we embrace the fact that every child is unique, it makes sense to seriously consider all of the options available for life after high school. The best course of action is for families, teachers and counsellors to work together with children to help them identify their interests and the best path for their development. Putting pressure on students to excel academically and fit into a narrow selection of university programs isn’t going to help anyone make the best decision. It will, however, take a toll on their wellbeing.
Opening our minds and broadening our thinking to consider “post-secondary life” rather than “university placement” is a big step forward in extracting our children from high-risk environments. In doing so, we help them become successful young adults pursuing what matters most to them. It’s a new world with changing definitions of success. We owe it to our children to change alongside it.
Balance is a state of living and learning that is achieved when the riches and challenges of life are experienced in healthy proportion.
The Link Magazine
The Link magazine is published twice each year for CDS families, alumni, past parents, staff, faculty and friends of The Country Day School. It is a retrospective look at the community’s activities.