Riverfield Country Day School Celebrates 25 Years

Associate Editor

PARENTING DEMONSTRATION: From left are Abby Gore, Barbara Coloroso and Emy Gore. Coloroso is demonstrating three types of parenting to Riverfield Country Day School middle schoolers: The jellyfish, the brickwall and backbone.

Riverfield Country Day School is turning 25 this year and Marty Clark, head of school, wanted to do something special for the students and the community. She invited Barbara Coloroso, an internationally recognized speaker on parenting, teaching, school discipline, non-violent conflict resolution, reconciliatory justice, and author of five books, to Riverfield, 2433 W. 61st Street, to speak to the students and community at a special assembly in September. Coloroso spent the day at Riverfield, speaking to the middle school and then the upper school and finally to parents and faculty in the evening.

Before Coloroso was introduced at the evening assembly Clark honored one of the first teachers at Riverfield Jeanette Easterling who retired this year after 25 years. She received a scrapbook and commemorative chair. Clark also established the Easterling Fund, a new outdoor fund for the school.

After the auditorium of students, parents and teachers sang Happy Birthday to Coloroso for her 61st birthday that day, she began her lecture with praise of the school.

“I’ve worked all over the world and I have yet to see a school like this one,” she says. “It has an ambience of deep caring.”

Coloroso has taught in Canada, Europe, South America, Asia, New Zealand, Australia and Iceland and she says that Riverfield is unique among all the schools she’s visited.

Coloroso a former Franciscan nun became interested in bullying when her own child endured bullying in school.

Clark wanted to bring Coloroso to Riverfield to help prevent violence.

“I’ve always wanted to have her come here. She reaches the audience well,” says Clark. “She gives them a piece of her mind and teaches students how to stop genocide in the world.”

Coloroso teaches that it’s a short distance from school bullying to more serious issues such as genocide and homicide.

“It’s a short walk from school bullying to genocide,” she says. “ And for us to tolerate it and misdiagnose it, is the problem.”

Coloroso wants children to learn to share generously, care deeply and help willingly. These traits in children help them to stop harm and hatred when they see it. She pointed out that Riverfield is on the right track in forming these traits in children by having a barnyard.

“ Whenever you have animals around it’s a way to nurture deep caring,” she says. “It contributes to deep caring, which is the antidote to bullying. Caring, sharing and helping willingly are reinforced by animals.” Animals are present throughout the school. In the hallway there’s an area with chinchillas and in another area is a snake.

Clark says that she wanted the school to have a barnyard to foster caring, and for children to see the real thing, not just a picture.

Clark says that starting the school has been unbelievable and that Riverfield’s enrollment is growing. “So many fabulous people are involved.”

Right now the school teaches infants through 12th grade.
Call 918-446-3553 for Riverfield information. Go to kidsareworthit.com for more information on Barbara Coloroso.

Coloroso’s books include:
“The Bully, the Bullied and the Bystander.”
“Kids are worth it! Giving your Child the Gift of Inner Discipline.”
“Parenting Through Crisis: Helping Kids in Times of Loss, Grief and Change.”
“Just Because it’s not Wrong Doesn’t Make it Right.”
“An Extraordinary Evil: A Short Walk to Genocide.”

Updated 10-21-2008

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