With the faculty busy preparing their classrooms, I toured The Parish School with a client and super Admission team member Sarah Swantner. In spite of the soaring summer heat, there was a lovely breeze permeated by the fragrance of cedar from the recently completed first phase of the Margaret Noecker Nature Center. This beloved, late Head of School was one of the caretakers of the gardens, including the butterfly garden where I was able to capture a photo of a Monarch enjoying the nectar of a bright pink blossom. I knew founder Robbin Parish growing up here in Houston, and we both went to Camp Waldemar where Robbin, who had dyslexia, recalled her happiest days. The School's expansive grounds away from commercial activity, feature limestone buildings with cedar beams and gardens with native Texas plants, echoing Robbin's summer camp environment. The Carruth Center proving support services for children is also located on this campus at the west end of Hammerly off the Beltway.
Robbin pioneered social language curriculum and multi-sensory instructional strategies meant to bring success for the whole child. Those methods were foundational to the Project-Based Learning curriculum and instruction that Parish has recently adopted. PBL is a breath of fresh air - engaging and effective in developing critical thinking skills. Most of our mainstream academic schools have gone to PBL which has obvious expression in the Maker Spaces of schools where outcomes in tangible forms begin with a question seeking a solution. These could be 3-D models, electric toothbrush robots, or a cardboard and straw maze for a Madagascar hissing cockroach (a long-term library visitor) Strongly kinesthetic Parish School children are highly attracted to this kind of learning. Next door to the library is the music room where students learn to play all types of percussion instruments to accompany their many choral performances in front of audiences. The students will be singing at the annual benefit luncheon on October 4th at The Junior League.