“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Approach

Tenacity and Resilience


Complex problems require flexible, resilient problem-solvers. Our students consider various perspectives, apply skills and knowledge in novel situations, and recover from disappointment to come back and try another approach. 

Our middle school students pursue challenging and sometimes ambiguous problems through a hands-on, inquiry-based program. They know that the work of real learning requires pushing through disequilibrium and discomfort. With ongoing feedback to spur revision, growth, and deep understanding, students develop the resilience to approach challenges with optimism and tenacity.

Motivation and Purpose 

Our middle school students develop a solid work ethic rooted in internal motivation. We understand that the drivers of self direction are not praise, rewards, or punishments; in fact, such responses to behavior decrease healthy risk-taking, sap creativity, and cap productivity. The pathway to internal motivation is autonomy and sense of purpose  the belief that we have agency to engage with problems that matter to us. At Friends, we emphasize that learning produces a much greater good than self-interest, that becoming proficient as a mathematician, musician, writer, and scientific thinker allows us to engage deeply in the world around us, and that this engagement and purpose leads to a life of fulfillment.

Reflection, Empathy, Community 

A hallmark of Quaker education is the emphasis on reflection, not only in terms of academic progress and autonomy as a learner, but also in the context of the Quaker Meeting for Worship. The purpose of this reflective practice is to provide space to listen for the “still small voice” of the Light within and to contemplate the right way forward as an individual within the concentric rings of community. Self-reflection becomes a grounding lifelong habit. Our middle school students practice reflective listening in Quaker Meeting for Business, a forum for leadership and problem-solving. They make frequent forays into the community for learning and service projects that support and extend their understanding. The Quaker testimonies of peace, integrity, community, simplicity, equality and service are touchstones for ongoing reflection throughout the middle school years.

 
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