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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Landon: “Childhood Should Not be a Race to be No. 1” Image
Elliott Landon: “We want students to enjoy their childhood.” Dave Matlow/WN file photo
Westport Schools Superintendent Elliott Landon, in a holiday message to parents, said the community must balance expectations of students so they can enjoy adolescence and childhood and not be in a race to be No. 1.

“Even as we want our students to be the best they can be, we also want them to enjoy their childhood, learn at their own pace, and know that each of them is valued as an individual regardless of whether they get straight A’s or make the honor roll,” he said in a message sent to parents and posted on the Board of Education Web site.

“We believe childhood and adolescence should be a pleasurable journey, not a race to be No. 1.” 

Landon said he and other Westport educators recently met with Westport clergy representatives to discuss “pressures on children in our high powered community.”

“The purpose of our discussion was to reflect on how we can, in our different roles, best serve the children in our community, and we agreed to share our thoughts with you,” he said.

“We who are responsible for your children’s education try to help each to succeed. But we frequently examine our practices to be sure that we do not pressure our students inappropriately as we seek to meet the achievement guidelines set for us not only by the State of Connecticut and the federal government, but also by the expectations of the Westport community.” 

Landon called on parents to support efforts “to ensure that in our eagerness to see our children do well we do not establish unrealistic expectations, creating stress that affects their overall well-being.”

He added, “We recognize the need for a balanced life, with time for family, for relaxation, and for unstructured play.”

Landon concluded: “Those who have contact with children in different capacities can work together to help them lead a healthy, stress-free and balanced life.

“We in the Westport school system are proud to be in partnership with parents and the entire community as we help our students, your children, face the future with pride, confidence and the certainty of our unconditional love and support.”


Posted 12/30/06 at 04:17 PM  Permalink


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I wish to applaud Dr. Landon for his statements.  As an advocate for our children and young adults for many years, I too have been concerned that at times there seems to be no time for childhood.  The pressures on our children often begin in preschool and continue right through high school.  We must allow them time to play, relate, relax and enjoy their years of growth and development.  They will be far happier and successful in their adult lives if allowed to do so.  And as parents, so will we.

Posted by Albert S. Beasley, M.D. on December 30, 2006 at 06:55 PM | #

Superintendent Landon has provided us with a wonderful vision for 2007. Reconcile the drive for supremacy in sports, acadmics, testing results, athletics, and college admissions with the real emotional, physical, and intellectual needs of Westport’s youth. I applaud him and Westport’s new collation for Positive Youth Development <<>> and look forward to his leadership in this endeavor during the coming year.

Posted by werner liepolt on December 31, 2006 at 02:07 AM | #

I think it sounds great in theory and without a doubt it is an issue that is out of control in our town.  I’ll be more of a believer when i see teachers, administrators, coaches and parents practice what they preach.

Posted by Maura Marden on January 01, 2007 at 12:35 AM | #

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