Two of the parents who met me this week to inquire about the school were a mom and dad who had a particular skill in asking interesting questions. One of these was something like, “Of your various innovations in the school, if you were to name two things you intend your pupils achieving by the time they graduate from Kairos, what would those be?” Shyoh!
Thinking on my feet, even though I was sitting down, I privately scanned our various educational innovations that we work with here in Kairos. Our overall “Integrity-Mastery-Harmony” framework is an all-encompassing innovation itself, with its implications of several of our innovations: our NVC (“Non-Violent Communication”) culture of discipline; our sessions of philosophical inquiry with the children; our pupil’s sense of agency balanced with a culture of sincere etiquette and respect; and our holistic conceptualisation of the whole child’s learning process — in all its multiplicity of literacies — and that of our educational duties to teach each of them. There are also the more specific innovations, such as our school currency, the Waldorf-oriented Integrated Studies themes, our daily “Check-in”, our Partner Projects, and the newest innovation: next week’s “Pop-Up School.”
For us — teachers and pupils — our various innovations dovetail neatly into a coherent school system, but for the outsider the details may sound a bit like a shopping list. And although the threefold “Integrity-Mastery-Harmony” framework summarises our ethos, perhaps it’s is not specific enough about the sort of graduate we are aspiring for. So what “two things” can we use to sum up as our educational objective?
My first answer was about child’s self-concept and my second was his or her abilities. I hope our pupils will leave us with a sense of their own power and agency for making a difference in their lives and in the world, with a sense of purpose about what that might be. They will be both confident and courageous, with a sense of direction and self-motivation in areas of personal passion. And, secondly, they will graduate from Kairos with competence across the curriculum of literacies: they will be skillful in writing and reading, in mathematical thinking and artistic thinking, skillful in physical movement activities with a healthy relationship with their own bodies and others, and they will have an unusually high social intelligence for their age. They will be brilliant in areas of knowledge they’re passionate about and also properly competent across the broad range of what it means to know and to learn.
We don’t only want our pupils to succeed in the game called School, although that is valuable too. We want our pupils to succeed in the game called Life, which includes School. Life is a vast and complex place. Childhood is not a preparation for life: it is life, and skills learned now need to be relevant for life now. Nevertheless, with the rapid changes in the workplace andradical threats to our political and meteorological landscapes across the globe, the holistic and emotionally-intelligent development of a child is vital for the time they enter adulthood. They need it, and the world needs them.