Students learn lessons about what is important from the adults and other students around them every day. At Chicago Friends School, we strive to maintain a classroom culture that helps students make thoughtful choices about how to be.
Teachers, students, and staff partner in learning on a mutually respectful, first-name basis.
- Daily activities such as morning circle and collaborative games build community in the classroom.
- Daily reflection time and weekly community time is spent reflecting together on important ideas and how they relate to everyday life.
Whole-school learning and activities
- Activities such as buddy reading, and cross-classroom Spanish-language games unite classrooms.
- Weekly community meetings bring everyone together as a school community.
- An annual instructional theme engages the whole school in project-based collaborative learning and gives students an opportunity to share what they have learned across classrooms.
Freedom and responsibility
We give students appropriate freedom of action and expectations that they will behave in a responsible, loving way.
- A balance of independent and group work helps students to learn to manage their time and effort and to work with others effectively.
- Students have the ability to move freely around the classroom during independent work time and are expected to be courteous of others’ learning during that time.
- Students’ ideas and opinions are elicited, heard, and taken seriously.
- Time for free play gives students a chance to develop social and cooperative skills and to choose their own activities with peers.
Learning how to get along
Conflicts and hurt feelings are an inevitable part of growing up. We work with students to solve conflicts, identify strong emotions, and talk about them.
- When classroom disputes arise, teachers take time to problem-solve with students; value their emerging ideas of fair play, cooperation, and justice; and teach them skills for conflict resolution.
- School rules reflect the community and the students’ ideas about what is fair and valued.
Our Second Step social and emotional curriculum helps students learn how to manage their own emotions, understand the feelings of others, and problem-solve.