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A screen-free education benefitting US kids

Words by Tess Becker

How to educate children is one of the biggest questions faced by new parents. It's crucial for families to be able to make informed choices about how their children learn in order for them to thrive and develop into well rounded adults.

That’s where Seashore Academy comes in. 

Seashore Academy offers the freedom and flexibility of homeschooling with the benefits of a private education. The founder, Marlene Dandler, was inspired to launch the school while looking for her own freedom-minded community that provided meaningful education for her children. 

The pupils benefit from the absence of all devices and screens, given several studies link screen time with anxiety and depression in kids. All Seashore campuses are device-free and screen-free, allowing students to work in a creative and intellectually-curious environment focusing on collaborative learning and an academically intensive curriculum. 

The academy provides education on financial literacy, entrepreneurship, public speaking, and additional customized education applications. 

“There are a few positives that came from the quarantine and transition into work from home,” Marlene says. “Families have a variety of flexible schedules and education is changing; how we look at education is changing. Seashore Academy is giving the gift of an old school childhood while also providing the families with the ability to come and go as they please.” 

Marlene didn’t view this as a professional endeavor, instead working to do the best she could do, as she would for her own children. 

“I had gone to a great private school,” Marlene tells Smiley News. “And I saw the beauty of great academics, but it was also sort of coupled with this high-pressure environment that I saw a lot of negatives with, and I just really didn't want to do that to my children.”

So instead she wanted to do something to foster intellectual curiosity and allow kids to learn for themselves. 

“I love seeing an environment where kids can have all the resources to go and be their best and have their questions answered, especially for the kids who might have quirky interests so they can be themselves. I wanted to combine the best of a great academic background with freedom, time and the right amount of pressure.”

She made a particular point to highlight that at Seashore they try to accept all pupils from all different backgrounds, wanting to offer a good education to all kids. 

Currently, they run preschool programs, focusing on kids between the ages of three and five. 

“We're actually just starting our preschool program next September. So we're going to start at age three for the preschool and then right now we're starting with junior kindergarten, so age four and a half for junior kindergarten and five and a half for kindergarten,” Marlene says. 

Essentially, Marlene just wants to help kids be kids. 

“We're creating a happy, joyful atmosphere and giving kids an old-fashioned childhood,” Marlene says. “That, to me, is giving the children a gift of a happy, healthy childhood in an outdoor setting and letting them learn while developing grit by letting them fail.”

“The way babies learn to walk is by falling over and trying again, and we just want to encourage something like that. This is a happy, healthy, joyful place to grow and learn.”

Charity check-in

At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.

American Civil Liberties Union. This is one of the largest civil liberty defense organizations in the US. Find out more and support them here

Human Rights Campaign. This is one of the largest equality-focused organizations in the US. Find out more
The Trevor Project. They focus on suicide prevention and mental health support for queer youth. Support them here.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Quality Education.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

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