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New Canaan Country School Centennial Archival Resources: Quotes

All School


“Children do not need to grow up in a hurry. As parents, as teachers, we have an obligation to do everything we can to preserve their childhood, to shield them from the inexorable pressure to be an adult too soon, to give them the chance to be young and to grow at their own real pace. Patience and time are commodities too rarely available to us as adults; let us at least make them available for our children.”  Nicholas S. Thacher  (from: Patience and Time p. 18)    

“Listen carefully to the whispers in our rustling Country School corridors. Thirteen’s no age at all. Childhood is an integral part of life. Strongly walled but easily surrounded. Whether or not life is a battered toothbrush, let’s pledge ourselves to letting the children in our charge live it, fully and happily, just as long as they possibly can. They’ll be thirteen all too soon.” Nicholas S. Thacher.  (from: Patience and Time p.234) 

Alumni Awards

Echoing the sentiment of Henry Welles, Patricia Lawrence Gates Lynch Ewell encouraged students as they travel the world to

“take time to learn the culture of the people you meet. You never know how the many people you meet will influence you.” Patricia Lawrence Gates Lynch Ewell ’41 (from: The Alumni Award, October 16, 2009)

The Journey

“Children respect a school when standards are maintained firmly but with humor and understanding of the individual; children love a school when they know their teachers believe in them, care about their development and have a creative touch in leading them along the way.” Henry H. Welles, 1963 

“Children need time to unfold much life flowers,” Henry H. Welles 1963.  (from: Dr. Welles from Final report of the Headmaster - April 1963)

“It is our conviction that children the age we work with need both freedom and structure to insure their healthy development, personally and academically. They need opportunities to develop self-responsibility and self-discipline; at the same time, they need direction and restraints.” George Stevens, 1978  (from:“Tension and the Learning Climate,” , 1978)

“Those founding teachers and parents set about building a school which would not simply be good but great, a leading progressive elementary school which not only sought to prepare children for the next step in their education but also sought to prepare them for productive, satisfying adult lives.” … “Our founders believed passionately in giving children the gift of time, time for each child to discover her or his own unique gifts and talents, time to develop at her or his own pace.”  Nicholas S. Thacher.  (from: Patience and Time p.181)

“Process, not product. Ours is a school community which has learned over the years that rehearsals are more important than performances, that the effort is more significant than the results.”  Nicholas S. Thacher.  (from: Patience and Time p.192)

“Each day at the Country School (and every other school), the teacher confronts – with each child – the educator’s dilemma: vertical acceleration or horizontal enrichment. Our stated priority, in nearly every case, is to enrich the child horizontally.” Nicholas S. Thacher.  (from: Patience and Time p.18) 

 “What we seek is balance – the balance of adequate intellectual preparation for the academic challenge of the educational stages beyond the Country School with the development of a child’s sense of self-worth and concern for others.” Nicholas S. Thacher.  (from: Patience and Time p.19)