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Day 37: Lisa LeBlanc, Chair of Delta Parents Advisory Council

October 30, 2012

I’m not a teacher, a developmental psychologist, a social worker, or a police officer. I am, however, a parent. And I like to think I’m a pretty good one…most of the time. My kids ride their bikes to school every day – usually with a smile, and normally with a healthy lunch (that they’ve made themselves…I’m also not a personal chef), a signed agenda, completed homework and sometimes a list of questions that their dad and I can’t answer because it’s been way too long…

My children are sometimes polite (they’re not robots), they sometimes show empathy (nobody’s perfect) and they often enjoy exploring the deepest recesses of their varied interests; they can slice cheese safely, fry an egg, and build a campfire; they can swing a hammer, use some power tools, and build most IKEA furniture independently. On the weekend they do some sports, hang with their friends and recharge their batteries. I know they’re not exceptional, but I believe they’re the most remarkable people in the world.

I attribute their independence, confidence and skills to teachers that honor and celebrate their individual skills and talents, and to a healthy mix of school/life balance.

When I send my children to school, I believe that their teachers are offering them experiences, and the supports they need, to explore, learn and grow in ways that are appropriate for their developmental stage. Maybe that matches their grade level, maybe it’s somewhere ‘above’ or somewhere ‘below’. I’ve always believed it’s up to the kids to make the most of the experiences they’re offered at school, and it’s up to us parents to help them be heard when something’s getting in the way of that.

My kids are in grades 3, 5 and 7, and I feel very fortunate that they have had the school experiences that they’ve had so far. I know they’re lucky to have the fantastic teachers, EAs, administrators and school community they’ve got, and I know they’re lucky to have a loving, healthy, supportive home. In spite of this, though, there are questions that wake me up at night:

What about the children in our system who don’t have a stable home, with parents who are paying attention? Who supports them in advocating for themselves? And who supports them in exploring the deepest recesses of their interests when school lets out?

And, what’s going to happen when my children leave the gentle, flexible, and varied experience of elementary school? Will they have the same opportunity to learn at a pace that works for them? Will they have the same opportunity to explore the depths of those rainbow questions that transcend language arts, science, math and social studies? And will they have enough time with their teachers to dig deep on the questions that have them (and me and their dad) stumped or energized?

Lisa Leblanc, Parent and Chair of Delta DPAC. Lisa is mom to Kate, Aida and Zane, and is enjoying her third year as DPAC Chair.
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