by Lucy Goldstein, Pre-K Parent at Friends School
Last week as a Pre-K west volunteer parent, I wrote a note of appreciation to the teachers for the month of September. To my surprise, they asked if I would share my thoughts with all of you. It was a note to say thank you, particularly as Harvest Week arrives because there is so much for which we can be grateful. Most importantly, the school has made it through September and part of October without a hitch! At least that is how the teachers, staff and administrators have made it seem from our side of the fence when we drop off our children. And while I do not see all of the labor that goes into keeping the school doors open, the teachers and staff have done a wonderful job of thinking outside of the box, continuing to be positive, and providing all of us an in-person school experience despite the personal hardships everyone is taking on. And that’s where my thoughts turn more serious too.
Every day while our children go to school, our whole country is still experiencing such unprecedented loss: loss of lives, loss of jobs, loss of the way we used to do things, loss of in-person schooling for the majority of our country’s children, loss of the simple things like being together unencumbered by worries of contagion, and on a macro level, loss of honest and dignified political leadership at the highest of levels and in every branch of government. Indeed, with each new week of news and an election around the corner, our spirits are being asked to re-examine who we are as a country. What should health, justice and equality look like for ourselves and those different from ourselves? At the same time, I also have an unextinguished hope that we will, as a more unified people, prevail. That with this degree of disruption and pain, the soil of our humanity is being tilled, and from that, new growth will occur.
Part of this new growth is, I believe, apparent in the way Friends School guides each child. Despite COVID-19, the injustice to black lives, RBGs death, fire ashes falling in the air as I write, our teachers still show up every day with a big smile, upbeat voice, and open arms engaging children in the most important of human skills: curiosity, presence, joy, learning to listen – not just to others, but to their own bodies and the elements around them, asking deep questions about kindness and what it looks like, giving children healthy language to play together and apart, teaching them to balance acceptance of others with self-advocacy. In truth, these are the most essential tools for us as humans because they help develop wisdom and compassion. They teach our children that despite our differences, each human and the nature around us has value – no matter where we are born, and no matter what color, gender or religion. And that is the real heart of the matter, making sure the next generation honors each other in a more thoughtful way than many of our current societal structures demonstrate.
In light of Harvest Week, I am grateful for the intention Friends School brings to every child. We are so fortunate to have such a caring and intelligent school community. And, on behalf of all of the parents, thank you, Friends, for a wonderful September and October in such challenging times. May we continue to reap the harvest of the teachers’ and staff’s thoughtful labor.
by Honor Taft, Head of School
Last week as we closed our fifth week of school, and Rosh Hashanah began, the news about supreme court justice Ruth Bader Ginserburg flooded my screen world, as I imagine it did yours. This felt like another blow in this surreal and ublievelable reality that is 2020. And, as I find myself thinking about the strength and resolve of this incredible woman, I am inspired and feel called to action.
RBG took steps every day to make the world a better place. She did not retreat when the fight became hard or the work seemed too much… though I am certain there were moments in her life when she considered it. RBG believed in the beauty of humanity and the possibility of a more just and kind world – a belief that I believe we share.
RBG’s legacy makes me think about what we are doing at Friends School each and every day. More than ever, our approach and philosophy of education, built upon the work of the great minds of progressive education, is especially essential. Drawing upon the work of John Dewey, we endeavor to teach students how to think over what to think. We do this by engaging students in work that is both meaningful and impactful. Through this, our students learn that they have agency, that what they do, can and does make a difference.
Many things are difficult right now, and so much is unknown on a daily basis. The challenges seem unrelenting at times, and we can easily spend all of our time solving for the next few moments, hours, or day. Even within this, though, Friends School knows our call to action. We meaningfully provide for the children in our care, helping them find their passions and their voices, encouraging kindness and empathy in a world that needs it now more than ever.
Friends School, and each of you makes a difference in the daily lives of children and in so doing we are making a positive difference in our world. This is an incredible bright spot and cause for celebration.
Friends School: Making the world better by challenging minds, nurturing spirits and honoring individuality.Read More
Today marks the first Friday of in-person learning for our students in Kindergarten through eighth grade (our preschool division begins Monday). Getting school up and running is an event in any year, but 2020 has been a whole new experience.Read More
School may be out for summer, but warm memories of the 5th grade passagework hike still fill our hearts. And while “what happens on the hike, stays on the hike”, one graduating parent gives us an inside glimpse into this very special ritual.Read More
Statement to the community by Honor Taft, Head of School and Jenefer Donovan, Friends Community Board Chair
June 2, 2020
Dear Friends School Community,
There is a problem in America affecting all of us. At Friends School we stand unequivocally against racism and believe we can and must be part of the change for a better world by honoring, nurturing and challenging one another.
We mourn with Black communities, the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. Their tragic deaths are only the most recent harsh reminders that the ugly truth of racism is both prevalent and systemic.
The pain of the past week’s events weighs heavily in our hearts and we stand in active solidarity with all who strive for social justice. Friends School is committed to preparing strong, courageous people to use our voices to promote justice.
We believe that ending racism begins with education, compassion, and critical thinking and that having difficult and important conversations with our children will make an impact. Friends School has gathered these resources to support families in navigating these critical conversations about race. Additionally, we would like to share the following links:
- Race and parenting: Why raising ‘colorblind’ kids is actually a terrible idea: https://www.today.com/parents/how-teach-kids-about-race-don-t-be-colorblind-t115136
- Op-Ed: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Don’t understand the protests? What you’re seeing is people pushed to the edge: https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-05-30/dont-understand-the-protests-what-youre-seeing-is-people-pushed-to-the-edge
- Kojo For Kids: Jason Reynolds Talks About Racism And The Protests: https://thekojonnamdishow.org/shows/2020-06-01/kojo-for-kids-jason-reynold-talks-about-racism-and-the-protests?
- A Child’s View of the Death of George Floyd: https://stonesoup.com/post/a-childs-view-of-the-death-of-george-floyd-by-amara-9/
Head of School
Friends School Community Board Chair
We love hearing stories about the ways our students are spending their time away from the remote classroom. This week, guest blogger and Friends School mom Chelsea Flagg, describes some of the amazing performances her three daughters have been putting on the last couple months from home. We’re excited to attend one of their Sunday afternoon plays.Read More
Friends School parent Jody Castrillon is a Registered Nurse at Children’s Hospital Colorado. We recently caught up with her to get the lowdown on what her experience has been on the frontlines of children’s healthcare locally right now. We thank Jody for blogging with us, and for her impactful work!Read More
Friends Board Chair, Jenny Donovan shares excerpts from Honor and our three division directors about all the exceptional things that have been happening at Friends School since remote learning began.Read More
One thing Director of Admissions Melanie Leggett draws on each day to get through these uncertain times is the deep well of Friends School’s SEL practices that are interwoven into our students’ daily lives. Things like gratitude and resiliency and that all feelings are welcome.Read More
She’s the heart of our elementary school and knows every student and their families by name. She’s worn many hats at Friends School over the last 20 years, but there’s a lot more to know about Front Desk Coordinator, Jana Bledsoe.Read More
Student birthdays are celebrated a little differently at Friends School. Students are treated to deliciously, sweet, kind and funny words of appreciation for their classmates on their big day. One mom shares her experience in witnessing her own child’s celebration.Read More
Bill Flagg is a full time dad and entrepreneur and he finds volunteering at Friends School to be rewarding. Lou Bendrick sat down with Bill recently to find out what he loves about Friends, why he volunteers, what he’s reading and what’s in his refrigerator.Read More