Seeing One Another’s Entire Face

At Acton we are critical thinkers, so we don’t focus on one kind of risk. We look at the whole picture, the whole child, and how our decisions impact their development. In doing so, we model how our children can make intelligent risk assessments throughout their lives. The goal: A healthy relationship with risk!
During times of concern and confusion about what appropriate risks are for their children, Acton families ask themselves a variety of excellent questions so they can make intelligent risk assessments.
Reading non-verbal cues sent through the mouth is an important part of child development.

For example, when it comes to the risk of COVID-19, Acton families have recently asked:
What percentage of COVID-19 cases in children result in hospitalization?
Is that percentage higher than it was in 2020? 
If so, how much higher?
What percentage of COVID-19 cases in children result in death?
Is that percentage higher than it was in 2020? 
If so, how much higher?
How do these percentages compare with other causes of malaise in children from pre-2020 and how has our relationship with risk changed since then?
Since focusing on one kind of threat to children’s health can keep us from recognizing the breadth of needs children have, Acton families have also recently asked:
What is the value of my child being physically close to other children--touching them, laughing with them? 
What is the value of my child seeing the full faces of their peers and teachers (at Acton we call them Guides) as they navigate their day?
Being physically close to other children is an important part of child development. Bonus: They love it!

These last two questions aren’t talked about much, so at Acton Lakewood, we’re here to respond with the word HUGE. We do this through our actions and our words as we help parents navigate risk assessment decisions for their children. The value of in-person, whole face, high touch experiences is HUGE for children.
The importance of early childhood for the rest of a person’s life is now well understood. The time is short and it matters. Indeed, what we experience in early childhood leaves an imprint that resonates throughout life, including emotional development and IQ.
Also well appreciated: the main part of the early years going well is simple and has been taken for granted throughout most of human history. What is the main part? Responsive interaction between peers and adults. Warmth. Smiles. Laughter. Conversation. Pats on the back. High fives. Hugs. 
When children experience touch from another person, they learn about their own body, physical strength, and boundaries. When another smiles at them and they smile back, they experience empathy, learning something about themselves and the other person. 
As children navigate their day, they naturally look at (entire) faces so that they will experience connection. Through non-verbal signals we send one another by the way we form our mouths, children learn about their impact on others, how to form their mouths for proper speech articulation, and how to distinguish sound segments (the foundation to reading). Most importantly, all of this together directly ties into their ability to read social cues and experience emotional connections with others. 
To cover up the mouth is to give a person a disability. And while the human spirit to overcome disabilities and adversity is incredible, we are proud to say that Acton parents make that decision thoughtfully, after careful consideration of the risk assessment.
Exchanging full smiles is an important part of child development.

Real, whole face, in-person experiences for children are more than something that would be a nice bonus once other risks have left the horizon. Child development just can’t be deferred. Time is crucial. It is our privilege to use every minute of your child’s early years for their maximum benefit. 
We look forward to smiling at one another on our first day of school, September 7th!
Ready for your family to be part of a lively community of learners that has a healthy relationship with risk and doesn’t shy away from tough questions?
 Schedule a tour or give us a ring (214-868-6686) to figure out whether Acton Academy is right for your family. 
Molly Franklin Lucia, M.Ed.
Head of School
What one of our parents shared last week:
“As students head to school today, I pray they are safe, protected, but most importantly happy and joyful in their learning environment.
Acton's learning model isn't for every child, but man, it sure is the place for my kid. Thankful we are able to send him here and for all the wonderful experiences that will start come September in year 2 for us!”