April 7, 2016

One Parent's View of Teamwork at Friends': Destination Imagination

Fifth grade Destination Imagination team at work

Recently, a group of our fifth grade students  competed in the regional Destination Imagination tournament. They placed second and won the right to advance to the state tournament.  Amy Carpenter is one of their team leaders.  She offers this unique viewpoint on how a Friends' education helped make this moment such a success.  Amy is the parent of current and alumni students and also serves as a trustee of the school. Thank you, Amy, for this guest blog:

As a parent you may sometimes wonder if a Friends’ School education does make a difference in our children’s growth. How does it help our children? Do they learn unique skills? Do they develop the skills needed to become successful teenagers and adults?  

Guest writer Amy Carpenter
Two weeks ago I witnessed one remarkable way how Friends’ School shapes our kids. It was amazing to watch.

I was a co-team leader for the 5th grade Destination Imagination Team. The Destination Imagination program fosters the skills of creative and critical thinking, teamwork, problem solving, risk taking and self confidence through science-based challenges that kids have to solve and present at a tournament.  These are many of the same skills Friends’ School fosters in our children.

There can be no parent involvement in the creation of the solution. This is 100% student driven. And these are not easy challenges  - often stumping us parents. A large part of the team’s score is based on how the students demonstrate the skills listed above. In addition to presenting their main challenge that they have developed over several weeks, teams also have to solve an “instant” challenge - one in which they have a time limit of 5-7 minutes to complete after they hear the directions.
The team: Teddy, Finn, Mark, Sam, Charlotte, Ian & Finn

Our Friends’ School team worked hard for a few months trying to solve the team challenge and practicing for the instant challenge. To be honest, in the few days leading up to the tournament my co-leader and I were seriously wondering if the group would be able to pull off their solution. Since we can have no input we had to gently guide them and let them succeed or fail on their own.

On the day of the tournament, they pulled it off and had huge success!

What was amazing to see is that the skills that our students used to succeed are so ingrained in them. I believe this is largely due to their education at Friends’ School. They demonstrated an ease with team work and respect for each other. They are comfortable talking to adults and presenting in front of an audience of strangers. They have incredible stage presence. They are playful and natural leaders. They are kind and graceful to each other under pressure.

We have all seen the staff take time to work with our children on these incredibly important life skills. Whether it is an AOE presentation, a conflict with a classmate, theatrical and musical productions, learning a new skill in gym, our teachers work hard to foster our children’s abilities and confidence.

In the moment of the Destination Imagination presentation I realized how thankful, and how lucky, we are as a family to be part of the Friends’ School community. What happens here is special, unique, and it does make a difference for our children.

Thank you to Kim Millison, Amy's co-leader, for supporting the team and for the photographs.
To learn more about Destination Imagination https://www.destinationimagination.org/

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