April 5, 2023
As I sat in my living room this weekend waiting for the storm clouds to roll in, I cannot help but think about the special place that is Clariden. Students arrive to school each day with smiles on their faces and, more often than not, a quickened pace to go into the school building because they are so excited about the learning ahead of them. At times, there are tears at the end of the day because they do not want to leave school. I have had to de-escalate more than one situation like this in 2023, and I am happy to do it as often as necessary.
But what is it about Clariden that has students, faculty, staff, and parents smiling and coming back again and again? I believe it is a compilation of positive attributes that, when combined together into the Clariden experience, are second to none. When I am speaking with parents about what brought them to Clariden, whether it be a current family or an eager-to-join-the-community family, the list continues to grow with what makes Clariden so special to them. Families note small class sizes, their child truly being known and cared for by classroom teachers and administration, individualized attention, project–based learning (PBL) with a STEAM emphasis, and a PK–12 environment from which their child can grow and graduate, prepared for the world around them. While we can list these qualities as benefits of Clariden, we really must ask ourselves how each of them impact our students and why they are so important.
Why do parents seek out small class sizes, individualized attention, PBL, etc.? What do these attributes provide for their child? In essence, children learn best when they are in a safe learning environment. If they are known by their peers and the adults in their lives, and there are established norms in the classroom, the learning potential is limitless. Students can be their best selves each day in and out of the classroom and take (educational) risks responsibly through the encouragement and safety of hands–on learning, public speaking, collaboration, cooperation, and the learning for learning’s sake that PBL at Clariden provides. I cannot imagine an alternative learning environment for my own children that would better provide such foundational life skills and confidence.
At Clariden, we know each other, we support each other, and we grow together. We are a small-by-design community of engaged, life–long learners. If you have not had the chance to explore our campus, meet our teachers, or see our students in action, please be sure to stop by – we cannot wait to show you what makes Clariden so special.
Dr. Jamie Segraves
Head of School