Reader Question: Will You Please Share Information From Your Event re: Family Message

Christina Simon, Celebrity Mom, Dayna Devon and Porcha Dodson at an event Dayna held at her home for Wagon Wheel and Montessori Shir-Hashirim Preschool parents last year. Dayna is now a mom at Curtis School.

Whenever we speak to groups of parents who are applying to private elementary schools, I talk about how I developed a “family message.” This is a concept Anne Simon, my co-author and step-mom, helped me come up with. It’s the way I was able to write about and discuss our family’s attributes, interests and child. I used these points in our written applications, parent interviews and even thank you notes.

My family message included these points:

1. We are well-educated (Harvard and Berkeley) and have advanced degrees from Harvard Law School and UCLA

2. We are committed to private school. We have ruled out public school

3. We have volunteered in our community and served on non-profit boards

4. We have a shy, studious daughter who will benefit from a developmental school

5. Our family is NOT artistic, but we want our kids exposed to the arts  

6. We have specific skills that can benefit your school i.e. fundraising and finance       
My family


Your family message should be unique to your family. But, don’t be afraid to share things that your family values like diversity, the outdoors or the arts. This is really about helping the admissions directors get to know your family!


During talks, we mention that if you are a graduate of one of the schools where you are applying, you should discuss that. For example, “As a graduate of XYZ school, I would like my child to benefit from the outstanding education I received. My experience at XYZ school has benefited me academically and socially throughout my life (explain further if needed).


We also discuss ways you can describe your child that steer away from cliches like “leader” or “precocious” which tend to be overused and vague. Try to explain your child’s unique attributes in a straightforward manner. For example, “Henry will pass the ball to any kid who is open on his soccer team. He doesn’t care whether the kid is the best player or not.” This describes qualities like maturity, sharing and leadership without using those words.


Also, think about how your child learns, the environment where he learns best. For example, my son needs a lot of physical activity…he’s super high energy, but can still focus and follow classroom instruction. I needed a school that had a lot of yard time, PE, etc. He’s outgoing and friendly. I wrote about this in his application.


Hope this helps!


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Christina Simon: Los Angeles, California, United States I'm the mom of two kids who attended The Willows School in Culver City and Viewpoint School in Calabasas. My daughter is a graduate of Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism ('23) and my son is a sophomore at UPenn/Wharton ('26). I live in Coldwater Canyon with my husband, Barry, and our dogs. Contact me at

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