Elysian Charter School
A Positively Different Public School
December 4, 2017 Vol. 13 Issue 13
The school newsletter is sent out on Mondays. When there is a holiday, the newsletter is sent the following day.
This article first appeared in the New York Times Sunday Review on January 30th, 2016. Please note that underlining indicates a link to a related article.
How to Raise a Creative Child. Step One: Back Off
THEY learn to read at age 2, play Bach at 4, breeze through calculus at 6, and speak foreign languages fluently by 8. Their classmates shudder with envy; their parents rejoice at winning the lottery. But to paraphrase T. S. Eliot, their careers tend to end not with a bang, but with a whimper.
Consider the nation’s most prestigious award for scientifically gifted high school students, the Westinghouse Science Talent Search, called the Super Bowl of science by one American president. From its inception in 1942 until 1994, the search recognized more than 2000 precocious teenagers as finalists. But just 1 percent ended up making the National Academy of Sciences, and just eight have won Nobel Prizes. For every Lisa Randall who revolutionizes theoretical physics, there are many dozens who fall far short of their potential.
Child prodigies rarely become adult geniuses who change the world. We assume that they must lack the social and emotional skills to function in society. When you look at the evidence, though, this explanation doesn’t suffice: Less than a quarter of gifted children suffer from social and emotional problems. A vast majority are well adjusted — as winning at a cocktail party as in the spelling bee.
What holds them back is that they don’t learn to be original. They strive to earn the approval of their parents and the admiration of their teachers. But as they perform in Carnegie Hall and become chess champions, something unexpected happens: Practice makes perfect, but it doesn’t make new.
The gifted learn to play magnificent Mozart melodies, but rarely compose their own original scores. They focus their energy on consuming existing scientific knowledge, not producing new insights. They conform to codified rules, rather than inventing their own. Research suggests that the most creative children are the least likely to become the teacher’s pet, and in response, many learn to keep their original ideas to themselves. In the language of the critic William Deresiewicz, they become the excellent sheep.
In adulthood, many prodigies become experts in their fields and leaders in their organizations. Yet “only a fraction of gifted children eventually become revolutionary adult creators,” laments the psychologist Ellen Winner. “Those who do must make a painful transition” to an adult who “ultimately remakes a domain.”
Most prodigies never make that leap. They apply their extraordinary abilities by shining in their jobs without making waves. They become doctors who heal their patients without fighting to fix the broken medical system or lawyers who defend clients on unfair charges but do not try to transform the laws themselves.
So what does it take to raise a creative child? One study compared the families of children who were rated among the most creative 5 percent in their school system with those who were not unusually creative. The parents of ordinary children had an average of six rules, like specific schedules for homework and bedtime. Parents of highly creative children had an average of fewer than one rule.
Creativity may be hard to nurture, but it’s easy to thwart. By limiting rules, parents encouraged their children to think for themselves. They tended to “place emphasis on moral values, rather than on specific rules,” the Harvard psychologist Teresa Amabile reports.
Even then, though, parents didn’t shove their values down their children’s throats. When psychologists compared America’s most creative architects with a group of highly skilled but unoriginal peers, there was something unique about the parents of the creative architects: “Emphasis was placed on the development of one’s own ethical code.”
Yes, parents encouraged their children to pursue excellence and success — but they also encouraged them to find “joy in work.” Their children had freedom to sort out their own values and discover their own interests. And that set them up to flourish as creative adults.
When the psychologist Benjamin Bloom led a study of the early roots of world-class musicians, artists, athletes and scientists, he learned that their parents didn’t dream of raising superstar kids. They weren’t drill sergeants or slave drivers. They responded to the intrinsic motivation of their children. When their children showed interest and enthusiasm in a skill, the parents supported them.
Top concert pianists didn’t have elite teachers from the time they could walk; their first lessons came from instructors who happened to live nearby and made learning fun. Mozart showed interest in music before taking lessons, not the other way around. Mary Lou Williams learned to play the piano on her own; Itzhak Perlman began teaching himself the violin after being rejected from music school.
Even the best athletes didn’t start out any better than their peers. When Dr. Bloom’s team interviewed tennis players who were ranked in the top 10 in the world, they were not, to paraphrase Jerry Seinfeld, doing push-ups since they were a fetus. Few of them faced intense pressure to perfect the game as Andre Agassi did. A majority of the tennis stars remembered one thing about their first coaches: They made tennis enjoyable.
SINCE Malcolm Gladwell popularized the “10,000-hour rule” suggesting that success depends on the time we spend in deliberate practice, debate has raged about how the hours necessary to become an expert vary by field and person. In arguing about that, we’ve overlooked two questions that matter just as much.
First, can’t practice itself blind us to ways to improve our area of study? Research reveals that the more we practice, the more we become entrenched — trapped in familiar ways of thinking. Expert bridge players struggled more than novices to adapt when the rules were changed; expert accountants were worse than novices at applying a new tax law.
Second, what motivates people to practice a skill for thousands of hours? The most reliable answer is passion — discovered through natural curiosity or nurtured through early enjoyable experiences with an activity or many activities.
Evidence shows that creative contributions depend on the breadth, not just depth, of our knowledge and experience. In fashion, the most original collections come from directors who spend the most time working abroad. In science, winning a Nobel Prize is less about being a single-minded genius and more about being interested in many things. Relative to typical scientists, Nobel Prize winners are 22 times more likely to perform as actors, dancers or magicians; 12 times more likely to write poetry, plays or novels; seven times more likely to dabble in arts and crafts; and twice as likely to play an instrument or compose music.
No one is forcing these luminary scientists to get involved in artistic hobbies. It’s a reflection of their curiosity. And sometimes, that curiosity leads them to flashes of insight. “The theory of relativity occurred to me by intuition, and music is the driving force behind this intuition,” Albert Einstein reflected. His mother enrolled him in violin lessons starting at age 5, but he wasn’t intrigued. His love of music only blossomed as a teenager, after he stopped taking lessons and stumbled upon Mozart’s sonatas. “Love is a better teacher than a sense of duty,” he said.
Hear that, Tiger Moms and Lombardi Dads? You can’t program a child to become creative. Try to engineer a certain kind of success, and the best you’ll get is an ambitious robot. If you want your children to bring original ideas into the world, you need to let them pursue their passions, not yours.
Adam Grant is a professor of management and psychology at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, and a contributing opinion writer. This essay is adapted from his new book Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
As Elysian Charter School of Hoboken we value
- Community Engagement
- Social Awareness and Responsibility
These are two of the Core Values at Elysian, identified when we developed the Elysian Charter School Strategic Plan all together in 2015.
How have you see Elysian live these values?
As a school we help each other via the coin challenge, lemonade stands, bake sales, coupon books, the Elysian Superstore, the Book Fair and the Square One fundraisers.
Join the Elysian20 Committee as we reach out to help beyond our school community. Unicorns believe in the power of U N I !!
The Elysian20 Social Action Committee is meeting Thursday, December 7 at 3pm in Joanna’s room. Join us to find out more about UNI-DAY!
All Sibling Applications For Next Year's Kindergarteners Due Now
Please hand deliver application to the office. Please do NOT submit online.
Forms can be found in the office or at ecsnj.org. Look under enrollment.
The 2018 Annual Fundraising Party and Auction is just a few short months away and we need your help to make it a rousing success! Please join us for a planning meeting tomorrow, Tuesday, December 5, at 7:45 PM in the residents' lounge at 1100 Maxwell Lane.
A quick note to email@example.com to let us know you’ll be attending would be appreciated.
And, if you can’t make the meeting but would still like to get involved, just drop us a line! There are plenty of ways to help.
Thank you so much for your support!
Chili Cook-Off - Get your taste buds ready and your chili pots shined, because the 11th Annual Elysian Chili Cook-Off is just around the corner! Come one, come all, and invite your friends to the Hoboken Elk’s Club at 5 pm on January 6th to compete or just to relax and enjoy great chili.
Amenities include a supervised kid's room, live musical entertainment, a wine and beer cash bar for adults, and of course all the chili you can eat.
We need YOU to sign up as:
1. A Chili Chef
2. A Baker of Sweet Treats
3. Volunteer at the event – set up crew, front table or bartender!
Tiny Prints and Shutterfly Discount Codes Available
For all of your holiday needs, the PTSO has available 40% off and FREE shipping for Tiny Prints and $10 off an order of $50 or more and FREE shipping from Shutterfly! Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get your code(s)! Elysian will also get 13% of your purchase as a donation from both Tiny Prints and Shutterfly when you shop through our exclusive storefront: ElysianCharter.ShutterflyStorefront.com
. Codes expire December 31, 2017
After School Enrichment Clubs
Here are the end dates for the fall session of clubs:
Monday: Debate - Dec. 11
Slime Club - Dec. 18
Double Dutch Club - Dec. 18
Tuesday: Modern Calligraphy - Dec. 5
Food, Fit, Fun - Dec. 5
Electronics/Circuits - Dec. 5
Movie Making Club - Dec. 12
Wednesday: Chess - continues through Jan. 31 (14 week club)
Fashion Lab - Dec. 13
Karate Club - Dec. 20
4th Grade Book Arts - Dec. 13
Thursday: Fashion Dreams (Hobby Quest) - Dec. 14
Scratch - Dec. 14
Crazy Chemistry - Dec. 21
Friday: Hola Amigos - Dec. 15
Dance with Derrick - Dec. 15
Elysian Charter School has a long standing tradition of helping families in need. During this holiday season the ECS staff requests that you consider making a donation towards the purchase of gift cards to help our Elysian families who could use a helping hand to purchase gifts for their children.
If you know of a family in need, or are one yourself, please call me (201)-876-0102, email email@example.com or leave a note in my mailbox in the main office. All referrals can be anonymous and are confidential.
Please give your contribution to your child's classroom teacher by 3:00 PM Monday, December 18th.
Thank you in advance for your generosity. It is very much appreciated
Tara Dublanica, LCSW
More Opportunities To Donate
In addition to donating to Elysian families in need, there are also more opportunities to give to those in need in our Hoboken community. Anthony Reimer, from the Hoboken Grace Christmas Exchange, explained it further, for those of you who might be interested in becoming "adopters". His explanation is as follows:
We strive to really put on a community event with the Christmas Exchange. People in our community who'd like to give and people in our community who find they need more help this season.
We get recommendations from local organizations, shelters and entities for names of children and families who could use some extra help this Christmas. They are invited to submit a wish list. Once we receive their lists they are paired with an "adopter" those who have signed up in our community to purchase gifts. Those people are directed to www.hobokenchristmas.com.
Once people are paired, the "Adopters" shop, wrap and drop off the gifts either Dec. 8 or Dec. 9th and the "Receivers" can pick up their gifts from 4pm-8pm at 301 Garden on December 9th.
If you'd like to chat further or meet with someone, please feel free to reach out to Outreach Director, Anthony Reimer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Next Afterschool Performance at The New Victory Theater: Jason Bishop: Believe in Magic
Jason Bishop: Believe in Magic – Wednesday, December 20, 4:30 PM Performance
Returning with even more tricks (and wry one-liners) up his sleeve – and new acts designed especially for New Victory audiences – Jason Bishop will convert any skeptics in this marvelous, mind-blowing magic show.
New Vic Jason Bishop Workshop is the day before the trip, Tuesday, December 19, 3:15 - 4:15 PM. (All students attending the After School performance of Jason Bishop are invited to participate in this pre-theater workshop.)
- If you accompany your child to the theater, you do not need a permission slip. Please contact email@example.com. re: number of student tickets ($2) and adult tickets ($5). You pay your own transportation.
- If you wish your child to go to the theater with Aftercare, you must be registered in the Aftercare program and have a signed permission slip for each show. Permission slips are passed out during After Care and at pick-up.
Show is 60 minutes/no intermission. Suggested for 3rd grade and up.
Elysian Collects Box Tops and LABELS for Education
Look for the container near Deb's desk in the office! Thank you!
Lost and Found
Please write your child's name or initials in their outerwear so if it ends up in the Lost and Found we can return it. We have many items (jackets and sweatshirts/hoodlies) that need to find their way back home. Please come and take a look in the Main Office.
As per state law, we no longer publish the exact location of trips for security reasons.
Please read the calendar weekly, as changes are updated regularly.
Monday, December 4
- 3rd Grade Basketball Tryouts, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday, December 5
- Play Practice, 3:00 PM - 4:15 PM
- 4th Grade Basketball Tryouts, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday, December 6
- 5th Grade Basketball Tryouts, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
- Girls Team Tryouts, 5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Thursday, December 7
- 7th Grade Basketball Tryouts, 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
- 8th Grade Basketball Tryouts, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Friday, December 8
- 6th Grade Basketball Tryouts, 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
- Aftercare available until 5:00 PM
Tuesday, December 12
- Play Practice, 3:00 PM - 4:15 PM
Wednesday, December 13
- 1/2 Day of School - Staff Developement
Saturday, December 16
Monday, December 18
Tuesday, December 19
- Play Practice, 3:00 PM - 4:15 PM
Wednesday, December 20
- Afterschool to New Vic 4:30 PM -- 6:00 PM
Thursday, December 21
Friday, December 22
Monday, December 25 - Monday, January 1, 2018
- Winter Break, Elysian Closed
Tuesday, January 2, 2018
- Play Practice, 3:00 PM - 4:15 PM
Saturday, January 6
- Open House, 10:00 AM
- Chili Dinner, 5:00 PM - 9:00 PM, at the Elks Club
Monday, January 8
Tuesday, January 9
Friday, January 12
Monday, January 15
- Elysian Closed for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Wednesday, January 17
- 1/2 Day of School - Staff Development
- Lottery, 1:30 PM
- Middle School Night
Monday, January 22
Mark Your Calendars
Saturday, December 16 is KUUMBA Day! More Info to Follow
1460 Garden Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030
Harry Laub, Ph.D., Director