Following the adoption of our new Core Values, SFS leaders are taking turns writing about the ways in which those values are lived out every day on our campuses. This week we are sharing with you the Core Values of Kindness and Belonging. 

“This is what kindness does. Each little thing we do goes out like a ripple, into the world.” — Jacqueline Woodson, Each Kindness

In each of our divisions, Kindness and Belonging are intentionally woven throughout the curriculum and can be seen daily in interactions and relationships with faculty, staff, students, and families. We think about Kindness and Belonging in terms of how to guide our students to treat others and themselves with appreciation and empathy. In essence, Kindness and Belonging are foundational to our hopes and dreams for each student who enters our School and for all students in our community and across the world.

Modeling kindness and helping children recognize and label their feelings and emotions are a part of our daily work with younger students in the Preschool. Through storytelling during class meetings, our preschoolers are encouraged to think about how their actions affect others, how they can help and listen to one another, and about fairness. 

In Lower School, Compassionate Conversations during Lead time each morning provide a framework for students to learn about how to treat others with kindness and empathy. Through books, videos, discussions, and games, students have a chance to practice these important skills. In addition, Common Ground, a new program launched last month, gives students of underrepresented groups an opportunity to come together a few times a month with a faculty member to discuss school issues, ask questions, and form a bond through common experiences. 

In Middle School, the Advisory Program fosters a sense of belonging by promoting the development of student-student and student-faculty relationships. It serves as an opportunity for students to bond with peers from different travel groups, in addition to faculty members in a non-academic capacity. Through the Advisory Program, students feel a sense of community rooted in respect, support, and trust.

In High School, the Connections Program is our revamp of Advisory with Belonging as its core goal. Through Conversations and Competitions, the focus is always on giving students a small group to feel an integral part of. And through the Encouragement Club, founded at the High School in 2017, Kindness and Belonging are actionable. The Club does everything from ensuring every student gets a happy birthday wish on their special day to placing notes of inspiration on lockers. 

We invite you to join us for a lantern-lit kindness walk to celebrate World Kindness Day! This meditative, outdoor family walk for all ages will be on Friday, November 12 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. in the fields and forest of our nature preserve on our beautiful Goshen Campus to the heart rock. 

Showing compassion for one another and taking the extra time to help one another are common practices in our community. If we can be anything, we hope that Kindness is the prevalent choice and that Belonging is experienced by everyone.