Welcome to the Home of the Panthers!
Parkview is a school with a population of about 550 students. Our reputation is one of academic excellence combined with extensive complementary options and an ever growing athletics program. We are a district site for a variety of programs such as English Language Learning, Interactions and Community Mental Health. Here at Parkview School, we are committed to the academic and personal success of all students. The success of our students depends on the cooperation and extreme dedication of school staff, teachers, students, parents and the community. The high expectations we set at school lead to excellent results for all our students, both in school and in the community.
Parkview School believes strongly in the importance of reading (hence, our recent Book Fair in the Library and timetabled 15 minutes of reading at the start of each day!). We also believe strongly in the type of books that one chooses to read.
Reading and Fiction
Children who read have broader sympathies and a larger picture of life. They develop more powerful, healthy, and discerning imaginations. That is, if they read the sort of stories that present them not only with memorable pictures, but also with dramas in which they imaginatively become vicarious participants in the story, sharing the hero’s or heroine’s choice and challenges.
They meet characters who have something to learn; otherwise they would not be interested in them. If the story grips them, they root for the hero, suffering with him and cheering him on. This imaginative process of participation and identification gives them hope because they want to believe that in the stories of their lives they too can make the right choices.
The question for the child is not “Do I want to be good?” but “Who do I want to be like?” Imagination is one of the keys to virtue. It’s not enough to know what’s right. It’s also necessary to desire to do right. Plato said, “Children should be brought up in such a way that they will fall in love with virtue and hate vice. How does a child fall in love with virtue? The right kind of stories, said Plato. Stories, because of their hold on the imagination, can help create an emotional attachment to goodness.
The dramatic nature of stories enables us to “rehearse” moral decisions, strengthening our solidarity with the good. Reading affords us the opportunity to do what we often can’t do in life, to become thoroughly involved in the inner lives of others. At one and the same time, reading carries us out to others and becomes the mirror by which we discover ourselves more fully, exactly because we have escaped self-concern.
Parents should be aware that, while reading is potentially an enlarging experience, it can also have an opposite effect. The danger facing children’s literature does not come from ogres and villains that haunt the pages of fairy tales and fantasy stories; the danger lies, rather, in the continued proliferation of norm-less books that cater to anxiety and self-absorption, and have nothing to teach about life except, perhaps, that whatever happens is okay. The danger is not that such books lead to a life of crime, but to a life of boredom, selfishness, and limited horizons. Sooner or later your child will come across a genre that encourages narrow self-preoccupation. The early teen years are obviously a time of introspection and rumination, and there is an entire literature devoted to ensuring that no emotional scab remains unpicked. This is the genre known as the realistic problem novel for young adults. The intent of such books is mainly therapeutic: to help a child with a similar problem learn self-acceptance; to let him know that there are other children just like him, with problems and concerns just like his.
Fortunately, there is no shortage of stories of another sort: books that challenge, thrill, excite, and awaken young readers to the potential drama of life, especially to the drama of a life lived in obedience to the highest ideals. Such books have something better to offer than therapeutic reassurance.
Like true friends, they encourage us to be our best selves. I often hear the phrase “who cares what they read so long as they are reading” uttered when the discussion of suggested reading lists arises. Hopefully this has helped to clarify why Parkview School believes that what you read is important as well.
Mr. D. Beharry