What is the Let Grow Project?
It's this: Teachers tell their students to go home and ask their parents if they can do ONE THING ON THEIR OWN that they haven't done yet: Walk the dog, run an errand, make dinner...
In the Patchogue-Medford School District of Long Island, all seven elementary schools did the Project this year, and the principals report 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. Now the district's three middle schools will be doing the Project, too.
It is simple. It is free. All the materials are available right here (click this link and scroll down a bit): a "How to" for the teachers, a letter to send parents, a list of Project ideas for the kids.
And here is the superintendent, Michael Hynes, quoted in USA Today, lamenting the anxious, lock-down nature of childhood today and how the Let Grow Project changes it:
“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," said Hynes. "This program is a very simple way to empower kids to have some control over their lives.”
Hynes said the program has been integrated into homework so that one day a week students at different grade levels are trying something they’ve never tried before, from cooking a meal, to going to a place by themselves to riding their bikes for half mile to a mile.
“It’s not just for the children, it’s really for the adults, who for lack of a better word, often smother their kids.” “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. “
The byproduct of thinking we are living in unsafe times, Hynes said, is that kids are more depressed, suicidal and anxious than ever before.
His message to fellow superintendents:
“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 and we shouldn’t be hearing that we can’t afford it as an excuse, because it is free.”
It sure is. So is our help by phone! We're happy to talk to any teacher, principal or superintendent interested in the Let Grow Project. Drop us a line at info@LetGrow.org.
Thank you, Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy for such a great article.
And here's to a great school year! - Lenore