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Pittsburgh Parenting Blog by Sewickley Academy

Sewickley Academy: Resource Blog for Parents

Science Experiments Your Children Can Do at Home

Virtual School has challenged the way we teach and learn. This is especially true in science where experiential, inquiry-based learning is at the heart of the learning process. To be successful our community must be willing to persevere and adapt. Simulations and thought-experiments have become increasingly important, but we must not forsake physical experimentation that produces empirical evidence.  

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Topics: Education, diy, VirtualSchool

Making Things Happen in the Makerspace

The maker movement is in full swing in the Pittsburgh region and Sewickley Academy is proud to be a part of this movement that is helping to incorporate 21st century skills into the core and elective curricula. So what is a makerspace, and why do we value this philosophy?

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Topics: Education

Early Childhood Program Adapts Reggio Emilia Approach to Teaching

Our Sewickley Academy Early Childhood team began to implement changes to our curriculum and teaching practices, during the 2016-2017 school year, based on a new philosophy of how children learn.  Known as the Reggio Emilia Approach, this philosophy is rooted in the idea that learning should be play-based and student-centered. Our Early Childhood team has studied this way of thinking through books, articles, seminars with speakers who specialize in the approach, and many internet searches, but we felt we needed more. We were incredibly honored to be sent to Reggio Emilia, Italy, to learn firsthand how this type of learning affects preschool and kindergarten students. We spent a week with educators from around the world, learning from top professionals in the field.

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Topics: Education

6 Tips for Helping Your Teen Transition to High School

Educational transitions can be stressful for parents. We worry if our child is ready for school at age five or ready for college after high school. Over the past 20 years as an educator and administrator for middle and high school students, parents often ask me, “How can I help prepare my child for the transition from middle school to high school and beyond?” It’s certainly a question with more than one answer and is often dictated by the needs and development of individuals. That said, one critical 21st century skill, which most children need to develop, is self-monitoring. By this I mean the evolving ability to eliminate distraction and drive the focus on the task at hand, completing that task with intention, pride, and best effort. The middle school years aim to develop a deeper love of learning while “learning how to learn.” Parents and teachers can support and enhance this development, with a balance of structure, independence, and autonomy, which lays the groundwork for good habits in high school and beyond.

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Topics: Education

Summer Reads: Tales of Travel

As families wrap up the school year and consider plans for June through August, the phrase “summer reading” is inevitably uttered. Schools, libraries, and bookstores all promote summer reading like crazy. But we promise, it’s not just for the sales or a hollow attempt to keep brains sharp over the summer. Access to choice reading over summer shows an increase in both fluency and pleasure reading in the future. This results in higher test scores and more pleasure reading into adulthood creating well-rounded adults. A synopsis of this research can be found here.

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Topics: Education

Why We Celebrate Black History Month

As a child growing up black in an all white academic environment, I realized everyone didn’t look the same or have the same experiences that I was having. I was curious to learn about the differences, but more importantly, I was first taught at home, and it was later reinforced in my school and at my church, to look for commonalities. I learned to value people for who they are and, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. famously stated, to not judge people “by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." I learned to honor and respect people, while being able to disagree without disparaging, or disliking, them.

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Topics: Education

10 Ways to Make Reading and Writing Fun

"If you don't like reading, you just haven't found the right book,"  J. K. Rowling stated. Dr. Seuss said, "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go."

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Topics: Education

Classroom Corner: Flexible Seating in Grade 1

There is a new philosophy circulating around educational circles that promotes best practices to support learning styles of students, especially first graders. It encourages the freedom for students to sit, learn, and work in a manner that is most comfortable and successful for them. This new philosophy is called Flexible Seating.

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Topics: Education

Spring is Here! Get Out and Experience the World

The cold weather is finally breaking, and that means it is time to get back out into the world and explore with your kids this spring. One of the most interesting ways to explore your community is to use local libraries, businesses, and experiences to learn about the wider world around you. After all, learning about all of the fascinating cultures in the world is very important. 

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Topics: Food, Education

The Power of One Campus: SA Technology Students Bridge the Gap Between the Lower and Senior Schools


A conversation between Lower School Technology Coordinator Ms. Julia Tebbets and Senior School Technology Coordinator Mrs. Cristy McCloskey sparked a collaboration which benefited students in two of the Academy’s divisions.

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Topics: Education