Head of School Blog

“Nurturing” Misunderstood

Jill Singleton
As we bring the “hunting and gathering” stage of the admissions season to a close, and begin to select the students and families who will put down roots in our school community, I find myself reflecting on the desire so many parents have written about in their applications. “We want our child to be in a nurturing environment…” This sentiment comes up more than any other, and understandably so. Parents want their children to learn in an environment that is loving and supportive, and that helps them blossom and grow. When children get older, however, we start to hear a different desire – a concern that perhaps the nurturing environment may start to stifle the child’s growth, in that they won’t be prepared for the “real world.” As parents and teachers it is really important that we consider the critical difference between “nurture,” defined as “to educate, to bring or train up” (synonyms: rearing or raising) and “coddle,” “to treat with excessive indulgence, to pamper” (synonyms: baby, pamper, spoil, indulge). At All Saints, we are committed to providing a nurturing environment at all grade levels and firmly believe that this atmosphere will teach children to be compassionate, determined, resilient and ultimately, independent. Just as a plant needs soil, water, and sunshine for its entire life and would die if any of these essential ingredients are withheld, so, too, the human being depends on love, compassion and a sense of purpose throughout one’s lifespan to lead a truly fulfilling life. Surely all children deserve these resources so that they can become the kind of adults our world so desperately needs.
Questions, comments, thoughts? I’d love to hear them! Email me jsingleton@allsaintshoboken.com