“Life is not meant to be easy, my child; but take courage: it can be delightful.” George Bernard Shaw

Approach

Tenacity and Resilience


At San Francisco Friends School, we start with the Quaker educational principle that within every child shines a unique Light. Our goal is to engage their curiosities, develop their skills, and strengthen their ability to learn independently and collaboratively. We encourage the development of tenacity and resilience in our youngest learners. Students work to revise material, valuing the product of their efforts as much as the process. We want them to learn to recover from the frustration of reaching a dead end, to take risks, and to try new approaches. We challenge our students to be flexible in their thinking, adaptable to a range of experiences, and comfortable coming to solutions in a variety of ways.

Autonomy and Initiative

We support the development of autonomy and initiative in our youngest students. For example, kindergarten students are asked to be responsible for their belongings, and for their classroom jobs. They learn to notice simple things that make a big impact, and experience school as community members with a sense of belonging. Whether their job is pencil sharpener or lost and found collector, children learn to rely on each other to keep the class working. We believe developing a sense of purpose and accountability motivates students to engage with others who depend on them, and drives them to do their best. 

Empathy and Honesty

We expect our students to engage in peaceful problem-solving and group decision-making, in which they learn to listen carefully to their classmates and speak honestly and respectfully to each other. Lower school children learn to sift through shared experiences, reflect on them, and develop empathy for others. For example, a kindergarten Meeting for Business emerges from real problems in the classroom such as, “How will we share the wiggle cushions fairly?” Children learn to share their ideas clearly, be mindful listeners, and work towards consensus. It is our deeply-held belief that these Quaker practices guide children to value the experience of learning in school.

Social Emotional Learning, Quaker Values and Service Learning

We strive to integrate this social emotional learning and our Quaker values with a strong service learning component at every grade. Lower school students work closely with several neighborhood and global organizations, including Heifer International, the Francis of Assisi Community, the San Francisco SPCA, and the International Rescue Committee. We are committed to developing mutually-beneficial relationships both inside and outside the classroom.

 
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