Michael Hynes, superintendent of Patchogue-Medford Schools in Long Island, believes in the Let Grow Project. All seven elementary schools in his district participate, with incredible results. Soon, the middle schools will too. Here’s their Let Grow Project success story.
What is the Let Grow Project?
The ground-breaking Let Grow Project is so simple, yet so effective. Teachers assign a new kind of homework: Do something you’ve never done on your own before. Parents get involved too, helping kids come up with ideas and giving them permission to try. The accomplishment can be just about anything. Walk the dog. Make a meal. Do the laundry. Climb a tree. As long as it’s something they can do on their own, something new, it counts.
Kids report their progress back to their teachers, and parents share their experiences too. Over time, kids start to develop a sense of confidence and responsibility they’ve never had before. And parents learn that it’s okay to let go… and let grow. That’s what makes a Let Grow Project success story.
Patchogue-Medford’s Let Grow Project Success
Hynes decided to try the Let Grow Project in response to what he saw as the anxious, lock-down nature of childhood today. “We tell kids what to do 24/7. We’ve bubble-wrapped our kids to the point where they don’t take risks, they are extremely anxious,” he told USA Today. “Back in the day, 30 years ago, 12-year-olds were doing things that now we wouldn’t think of allowing current 12-year-olds to do.”
Enter the Let Grow Project. Every Thursday, kids were given one homework assignment: try something new on your own. Kindergarteners and younger students started pitching in around the house. They washed the dishes and got ready for school by themselves. Older kids took to their bikes or learned to skateboard. Some cooked dinner for their families. One enterprising fifth grader was thrilled to report that she’d earned some money doing yard work for her neighbors!
Teachers and principals reported amazing results. One said the kids are so confident and buoyant, they’re raising their hands in class more. One said she is getting thank yous from the parents and kids. “It’s not just for the children,” Hynes notes. “It’s really for the adults, who for lack of a better word, often smother their kids.”
Bring success to your school.
Hynes is spreading the word of his Let Grow Project success story to anyone who will listen. To other superintendents, he says, “As much as we are so hyper-focused on standardized test scores and academics, we really need to start moving the needle on mental health and what’s in the best interest of kids. One of the easiest ways to do that is have them involved in the Let Grow program. We shouldn’t be hearing that we can’t afford it as an excuse, because it is free.”
We’d love to make your school another Let Grow Project success story! Learn more about the project here, and request the information you need to get started. We’ll be there to support you every step of the way. We can’t wait to see how you Let Grow!