Finding the YES Moments

There are many unique experiences and approaches at Ellis that foster the growth of self-confidence in our students. I believe this is one of the most important, and distinctive, aspects of the Ellis experience. We are particularly committed to this aspect of our work because we know it is vital to a girl’s sense of self-worth and happiness. At the same time, the larger culture does not always support this kind of growth, meaning we have an even more important role in this dimension of a girl’s development.
One of our commitments as Ellis faculty is to read and discuss a book together each summer.  This past summer we read Enough As She Is: How to Help Girls Move Beyond Impossible Standards of Success to Live Healthy, Happy, and Fulfilling Lives, by renowned expert on girls’ development, Rachel Simmons. We are very excited to have Rachel coming to Ellis in April for presentations to families, students, and faculty.

As our faculty have discussed her book, we have been particularly drawn to Simmons’ research and advice about ways in which all of us—parents and educators alike—can create environments, experiences, and interactions through which our girls grow not only in their competence, but their confidence. One of my favorite passages in Simmons’ book describes an observation of her own daughter.  

“My five-year-old daughter loves puzzles. She spends hours on the living room floor forming scenes of princesses, unicorns, and jungle animals. Sometimes I sit with her and watch her turn a single piece this way and that, working to find the fit. She is preternaturally patient and focused. When she finally figures it out, she lets out an ebullient, gusty ‘YESSSSS!’ There is no better sound than that yes. It is the yes of a challenge she had the authority to choose, a risk faced and squarely taken. It is a reward earned through persistence and commitment. It is her yes, and it is for her and no one else. I want all girls to have access to their own yes.

We are very focused at Ellis on creating opportunities and space for our girls to find those yes moments.