Last December, Evanston teachers and parents of high school children were moved to action by the critically-acclaimed documentary Race to Nowhere. But the questions raised by the film &mdash How do we define success? What does a balanced life look like in our homes, schools and communities? What helps young people grow into centered, purposeful adults? &mdash apply to all families, even those with children who are just beginning their kindergarten year.
That&rsquo s why a group of parents of elementary school-aged children have organized a second viewing. Raising Children in Evanston: A Conversation about the Demands of Modern Childhood will take place on October 10th at 7:00pm at Evanston Township High School. Parents and educators of children preschool to grade 12 will watch the documentary and participate in discussion groups that will explore the dangers of an achievement-driven culture (including threats to the development of critical-thinking skills, creativity, resilience, and a love of learning.)
The documentary features stories of young people pushed to the brink and educators worried their students aren&rsquo t developing the skills they need in a global economy. Using an independent distribution system of grassroots, community platforms, Race to Nowhere has been viewed in more than 5,000 communities and has reached one million viewers. Director Vicki Abeles hopes the film will serve as a centerpiece for a social action campaign that will transform education and redefine success for our children.
ETHS leaders have already begun to initiate changes that promote a more balanced approach to learning, such as eliminating homework during school holidays. But the pressure to succeed can begin as early as preschool, and changing such a culture must involve everyone in our community. The October 10th viewing will provide an opportunity to discuss the demands of modern childhood and how they relate to younger children. Parents, teachers, administrators, school board members, health professionals, and community leaders are invited to this conversation, even if they have seen the film. This is an opportunity to explore the kind of childhood we want for Evanston children, and to ensure their current well-being as well as their long-term success.
For more information about the documentary and to reserve free tickets, visit www.racetonowhere.com.