As Nevada’s first Challenge Success partner school, The Alexander Dawson School is in an important position to educate the community about this Stanford University-affiliated program and the role it plays in the lives of Dawson students. Dawson’s most recent Parent University discussion titled “The Well-Balanced Student”, led by Head of School Roxanne Stansbury and Director of EC-1 Amanda Murray-Musgrave, highlighted the Challenge Success program, what it looks like at Dawson, and some helpful ways parents can utilize Challenge Success strategies at home.
First, about Challenge Success: Founded in 2007 by Stanford Graduate School of Education faculty Dr. Denise Pope and Dr. Madeline Levine, Challenge Success was created in response to the alarming epidemic of stress and anxiety-related disorders and behaviors seen in students of all ages in schools across the country. Challenge Success aims to do just that, challenge our current notion of what “student success” really means by providing schools and families with the information and strategies they need to create a more balanced and academically fulfilling life for their children, including prioritizing children’s mental and emotional wellbeing over homework load, test scores, grades, and college admission outcomes.
The strength of any great school program lies in its ability to serve as a bridge between school and home, and the Challenge Success school-home connection is no different. As Stansbury notes, “the value of the [Challenge Success] program is strengthened when families say ‘I understand what this looks like at school but I also complement it by what I do at home.”
Watch the most recent Parent University presentation for a more in-depth overview of Challenge Success at Dawson, or check out some helpful highlights from the presentation that families can use at home:
Focus time at home on the Challenge Success PDF model: playtime, downtime, and family time. Avoid over-scheduling. Young children need ample time for their most important job: unstructured play. Kids of all ages need restorative time to reflect and dream. And families need time together: at meals, on weekends, and during vacations to connect and form lasting bonds.*
Unplug. Set limits on the amount of time your children watch TV, play screen-based games, instant message, and use the computer recreationally. For young children, less than an hour or so per day is a good starting point. Older kids also need limits on their screen time and the content they watch. All screen time is not equal, and you need to be aware of what your child is watching and with whom they are communicating. Children need ample time to interact with real people, without technology, and to be in the natural world.*
Make sure your child is getting enough sleep. Sleep is essential for optimal growth and development physically, emotionally, and mentally. Believe it or not, the ideal amount of sleep for children and teens is between 10-11 hours a day.
Curious just how much of your child’s day is allocated to certain activities? Use the Time Wheel Activity on the Challenge Success website to help you more accurately assess what takes up the most time in your child’s day.
The Alexander Dawson School at Rainbow Mountain, an independent school located on 33-acres in the community of Summerlin, is Nevada’s first Stanford University Challenge Success partner school for students in early childhood through grade eight. Utilizing the unique Challenge Success framework, Dawson uses research-based strategies and programs that emphasize student academics, wellbeing, and a healthy school-life balance to create more engaged, motivated, and resilient learners and leaders. At Dawson, students achieve their individual potential while savoring life and meeting the challenges of the world.