During 2011, 2013 and then again in 2015, we have undergone a process of composing a theoretical framework to our school curriculum. Implied in our school logo, we experience a threefold learning journey at Kairos:
- a “Thinking Journey” (Inquiry and Accountability leading towards INTEGRITY)
- a “Feeling Journey” (Gentleness and Compassion leading to HARMONY), and
- a “Doing Journey” (Diligence and Initiative leading to MASTERY).
In addition to achieving a healthy “Doing Journey” towards mastery in all that we do, last year we began to engage each other more proactively in the Feeling and Thinking Journeys. We aspire to achieve a comprehensively kind and gentle culture in our school at every level and in every context. This is a colossal challenge when we come from diverse backgrounds, when our society is fraught with violence in the media and in everyday life, and when bullying is infamously difficult to eliminate completely in any school worldwide.
Previously we taught emotional intelligence through responding on an ad-hoc basis to emotionally charged incidents that were brought to our attention. We facilitate groups, sometimes as a class or the whole school, in a mutual exploration for insight and self-inquiry, and will continue to do so. Our consequences have always been a negotiated settlement between parties involved, and we employ the valuable Empathic (Non-Violent) Communication techniques of Marshall Rosenberg (www.cnvc.org) with self-evident benefits.
However, not all incidents against our school ethos come to the teachers’ attention. Therefore, from last year, we have been developing a system that teaches the principles that are relevant to the requirements of achieving the kind and gentle culture we hope for even in the absence of adults.
Our refined model now includes Peter Levine’s perspectives of working with trauma in everyday life, like a playground or a classroom (www.traumahealing.org). This work requires courage from the children, as well as honesty, humility and generosity of spirit — and all this requires practice. Also, it involves the participation of both teachers and parents. We will be arranging training sessions for both teachers and parents this year.
We begin the year by introducing the system to you, our parents. This evening 5pm at our Orientation Meeting for new parents (although everyone is welcome), we will introduce this new framework of agreements. We will introduce it again during individual Class Meetings of other grades, also to be scheduled this term.
I look forward to exploring this framework in more detail in other newsletters this year, through parent enrichment sessions, and in meetings in person.