Each year I speak to dozens of prospective families about our school. Over the years I’ve fine-tuned how I talk about our school philosophy, ethos, purpose, and the examples of how our ideals are expressed in the classroom experience. A frequent question I get is about how prepared our students are for the future. While families naturally ask about how well prepared students will be for high school I notice that most lean in when we start discussing the emotional well-being of students. Why?
To live among each other, to live in relationship with each other, while trying to tune into our own well-being - it’s part of the human condition at school and in life.
School is an incredible social experiment. Students of all backgrounds are in classrooms led by trained teachers offering an academic, and if they’re lucky, a social-emotional curriculum with consistent assessments of the students' achievement in these various subjects. If we zoom in, we’ll see a classroom of unique individuals who come with talents and gifts alongside challenges and obstacles. And regardless of academic achievements, each student grows up and becomes a person in the world interacting with other people in the world.
Let’s not work to remove obstacles but rather teach children how to face them.
As caregivers, we hold our own children in the highest light. If there is another student in the class who we observe as disruptive or loud or causing trouble, we might reach out to the teacher to ask that the child be removed from the class so that my child can have a more positive experience. What if we challenge that impulse?
Our children must learn to have compassion and understanding for those who are struggling and have curiosity about the differences we notice.
As adults, we do not have the luxury of moving people out of the way if they are creating an inconvenience. Do you like every coworker? Have you ever insisted they be removed? If so, that would be consistent with what most of us witnessed and learned from our own schooling. What if we instead learned to not only tolerate them but see them as a gift? What if you challenged the anger or annoyance you felt and thought about what you could learn? Can you hold both? What if our children tuned into their feelings and also the opportunities presented with each obstacle?
Understanding this basic social nature of humanity, at Golden Bridges School we choose to center the human experience and create a learning environment that acknowledges and supports a balance of the individual well-being and the well-being of the whole. Building these skills is not only essential to having a successful high school experience but is one that works throughout life. Curious about how this plays out in our community? I’d love to connect with you! - how to ask this in any situation
This isn't an easy topic, and it’s just the type of inquiry we love to explore. Thank you for considering this perspective. We invite you to join our exploration within your own daily life and join us for some values-aligned events and offerings below. Until next month!