Cedar Hill Prep Blog

How Your Child Can Go From Straight A's To Straight F's

Posted by Helen Gocher on Oct 7, 2016 2:55:46 PM

Do you remember the last time you failed at something and someone rubbed it in your face like you were a puppy being house-broken?

I’m sure you felt ready to take on the world, right? Or how about that amazing time you felt inspired, encouraged, and believed in enough to tackle that tremendous challenge again after being reminded of how royally you ruined your previous attempt — do you remember that? Do you remember how your self-confidence felt completely restored?


Yeah, neither do I.

I’m not saying there isn’t that 1% of humanity who rises up from the ashes of failure all by themselves and flies away on magical flaming phoenix wings of success.

But the majority of us wouldn’t get anywhere worth going in this life without some wind beneath those wings. (My inner high school self is cringing at the 1980s Bette Midler reference, but c’est la vie.)

Take off your parent hat for a moment and think back to when you were a child. Who was your wind? Who lifted you up when you were covered in your proverbial ashes, dusted you off, and made you feel like you could soar again? Was it a beloved grandparent? Perhaps an invested teacher?

As a parent, wouldn’t it fill your heart with unparalleled joy to hear your children say that, in times of personal failure, you were the wind that lifted them up, not the weight that held them down?  

“But if they don’t make straight A’s in middle school, they’ll never get into a good high school!”

“And if they don’t make straight A’s in high school, they’ll never get into a good college!”

“And if they don’t make straight A’s in college, they’ll never get chosen for that graduate program, fellowship, medical school, law school, etc.!”

“And if they never get those few elite letters at the beginning or end of their names, then they’ll never have a good career, or good money, or good ANYTHING!”

Cue the parental harping, and the lecturing, and the never letting a single infraction slide. Because in today’s competitive, dog-eat-dog world, good is never good enough, right? But what happens when even that A is no longer good enough? What happens when your child brings home a test to be signed and points to the grade at the top? Do you instantly focus on the few marked wrong instead of the majority marked right? And what happens when that test grade actually is an A? Be honest. Are you the parent who asks, “Where’s the plus?”

You might be laughing. You might be thinking, “No one would say THAT. That’s preposterous.” But I know children who actually fear bringing home an A. May we please pause and think about that for one moment?

Afraid of getting an A.

The insanity of that statement staggers the mind, but don’t take my word for it. Google the words “school stress” and be prepared to peruse page after page of articles and videos. The research is clear and the reports, studies, surveys, and statistics are, sadly, plenteous.

Today’s educational landscape for far too many middle and high school students is dark and riddled with anxiety, stress, sleep-deprivation, clinical depression, and unfathomable horrors like self-harm and — every parent’s worst nightmare — suicide. Even the most loving, most well-meaning parents can inadvertently trap their children under this avalanche of pressure. There’s a reason people say the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Your child, my child, their classmates — what they truly need from us, what they truly deserve for success and happiness in both school and life is not a push for more A’s, or even A plusses, but 4 solid F’s.

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Interview With A Top Cedar Hill Prep Alumnus: Pranav

Posted by Nandini Menon on Oct 5, 2016 1:33:09 PM

Meet Pranav. Pranav is an alumnus of Cedar Hill Prep (2nd through 8th grade) and is currently in his sophomore year at Princeton Day School after having completed a successful freshman year.  

We asked him to share some of his experiences and how they have shaped his academic and social experiences since graduating from Cedar Hill Prep.  

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Why Your Child Should Join Our Robotics Club

Posted by Nandini Menon on Sep 28, 2016 11:36:25 AM

You might have heard: At the end of the last school year, our Robotics Team traveled to Leipzig, Germany for the RoboCup 2016, a worldwide meeting of high-performance robots and 3,500 participants from 45 countries and regions who competed in 17 disciplines.

Since the Cedar Hill Prep Robotics Club had previously won the US championship, Arjun Agrawal, Aarav Gupta, Nitasha Gupta, Nivritti Mantha, and their coach, Neetika Bhalla, represented Team USA in the category OnStage which involved programming the robots to dance to music. After an intense competition, the team won first place for Super Teams at this World Competition!

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Preschool Options In Somerset, NJ & How To Choose The Best For Your Child

Posted by Nandini Menon on Sep 16, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Choosing the right preschool is a choice many parents have a hard time with because, for most, this is the first time they will have to dip their toes into making formal education choices. Thankfully, there are a lot of different options in Central New Jersey where the education system ranks second nationwide!

Since this is a hard decision for many to make, we thought we would put the best preschool options together for you — including some pros and cons for each choice.

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Topics: Prospective Parents, preschool

A Day In The Life Of A Cedar Hill Prep Preschooler

Posted by Ruth Sulitzer on Sep 13, 2016 7:55:00 AM

It is pickup time. You wait in line to retrieve your preschooler, anxious to see them again, to hug them, and to hear about their day. When you finally ask, "Honey, how was school?" and they say something like, "It was okay" or "Boring," you start to wonder: What are they doing all day? I mean, you send them to one of the best private schools in New Jersey — they must have something to say for their day. Right? 

Does that scenario sound familiar? 

While it is easier with older children to engage in a conversation about their school day, it can still be challenging. So, today, I want to shed some light on our classroom routine. This way, you can ask your child more targeted questions like, "What job did you have during morning meeting?" or "What center did you choose today?" and hear more about what your child is learning every single day instead of one-word answers. 

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Topics: Prospective Parents, preschool

Preschool, Elementary, or Middle School — When Does Private School Make The Most Sense?

Posted by Nandini Menon on Sep 9, 2016 4:08:50 PM

There is no question about whether or not a private school will significantly impact your child's intellectual, personal, and interpersonal development. However, quite often, parents ask themselves: Does it make more sense to start early, or can I "skip" the first years and start in middle school when it starts counting towards their academic resume?

Private schooling is a gift that keeps on giving, and there are numerous benefits unique to private education regardless of the grade your child is in. However, some specific benefits of private school vary with the student's age. Here is a glimpse of how private school is advantageous to students at each age milestone.

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Topics: Prospective Parents, Middle School, preschool, Elementary

How To Pay For Private School With Sallie Mae Loans

Posted by Nandini Menon on Sep 9, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Back before public education became standard, and when most of the population still lived on farms, it was common to send only one child to school. This was partly because the children were needed at home to help out around the farm, but the cost of sending a child to school was also a major deterrent as parents had to pay the teacher either directly or with a portion of their crops

 The lucky child who got to go to school had to walk several miles each morning carrying firewood for the school room. (S)he also had to walk home for lunch, walk back to school, and walk home again after school. Then there were farm chores to get done and siblings to teach. Sending a child to school was a major responsibility and investment for the entire family.

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Topics: Prospective Parents

5 Ways You Can Share Your Love Of Cedar Hill Prep School With Other Parents

Posted by Nandini Menon on Sep 5, 2016 1:26:10 PM

A lot of parents ask us, "What is the best way to refer my friend who is interested in sending her child to private school?" Parents often have a family member whose child would be a great fit for Cedar Hill Prep School, but they do not know how to plant the seed, so to speak, or help them in their journey.

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Topics: Prospective Parents

Interview With A Top Cedar Hill Prep Alumni: Lauryn

Posted by Ruth Sulitzer on Aug 10, 2016 10:36:03 AM

Meet Lauryn.

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Topics: Prospective Parents, School Beliefs, Middle School

Why Unstructured Play Makes Your Child A Better Student (and a Better Person)

Posted by Nandini Menon on Jul 20, 2016 9:00:00 AM

As educators, we are always aware that the makeup of a child’s educational environment is the key to harnessing each child’s special gifts. All too often we see parents feeling obligated to fill their child's schedules with adult-driven activities such as instrument lessons, dance, or organized sports. It has been our experience that children learn best in a safe, nurturing, and stimulating environment that extends beyond the classroom. Although there is value in those supervised, structured activities, unstructured playtime is an essential piece of your child's development. When children are immersed in a diverse environment with abundant space and stimulating activities, they are empowered to reach their unique potential socially, physically, intellectually, and emotionally.

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Topics: Prospective Parents, Exams, School Beliefs