Do you ever wonder why Green Hedges stops at Grade 8? Why not just add another building and stretch out to high school? There are good reasons to have middle schoolers at the top of our student pyramid.
Middle schoolers experience rapid growth and development in mind and body. For sure, they can be moody, sensitive and overly concerned with their appearance. They also, simultaneously, seek approval from adults yet push them away in order to mature. Twelve-, thirteen-, and fourteen-year-olds seek increasing levels of input and affirmation from their peers – sorry, Mom and Dad, your influence is not totally gone, but it is waning. During this time of rapid change, most middle schoolers are not yet secure enough in their self-image to mix appropriately with older teenagers socially, nor are those older children truly their peers. At Green Hedges, middle school students navigate the occasional awkward moments with less anxiety and at their own pace.
Furthermore, positive leadership is intentionally fostered among GHS middle schoolers, instilling a sense of empathy and responsibility at this formative age. This is why our older students are responsible for assisting younger students into school each morning, lead our Openings and Closings, and work together on community service projects that benefit others.
For parents and students, the middle school years can be daunting, but being in the right place can cut down on many worries. Green Hedges, with its decades of experience in this age group and what we believe to be the right model, helps make it a smooth transition for both parent and child.
“It is part of our philosophy to recognize different nationalities and races. We have always focused on providing quality education for a culturally diverse group of students.” Co-founder of Green Hedges, Frances Kilmer expressed this sentiment in 1971 as Green Hedges School(GHS) celebrated its first International Day. This week, 45 years later, as we celebrate International Week here at the School, we reflect on Mrs. Kilmer’s words and continue to hold them true for our current generation of students.
International Week celebrates our ethnic and cultural diversity, and as you saw at the Parade of Nations on Monday, students proudly represented a myriad of countries. Whether this was a country that their parents or grandparents immigrated from or simply a country they’ve only seen on a map, the Parade of Nations instills in our students the value of inclusion and being part of a larger global community.
It is not just International Week that celebrates our student body’s diversity. Students learn about holidays like Yom Kippur and Diwali during Openings and Closings and with faculty like Mrs. Chenulu, who visits our youngest students to read them a story about Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. She also incorporates diversity into her teaching. “In the math classroom, we use examples, data, and information from various cultures – Western and non-Western – to illustrate key mathematical concepts and enrich the students’ knowledge base. Such a multicultural approach encourages students from all communities to make connections to their own lives,” she says.
With schools being more diverse than they’ve ever been, it is essential that we raise global citizens who learn at a young age to value the diversity around them. Diversity brings richness to our communities—in the classroom, in the community and in the world — and fosters mutual respect, knowledge and awareness. At GHS, this is part of our DNA, part of the reason we were founded, and all students are taught from the beginning “the intrinsic worth of each individual and the value of the varied cultural heritages that make up America.”(Frances Kilmer)
Election Day is finally here. However, it goes without saying that the language, posture, tone and interactions of this year’s presidential candidates contradict how we teach, or for that matter, even allow students to interact at Green Hedges School.
Ordinarily, election years give schools the opportunities to teach students about the democratic process and to apply election issues and critical thinking and dialog to our curriculum on this topic. Despite the negativity associated with this year’s presidential candidates, and through the course of this year’s election, the GHS faculty have again embraced opportunities (in age appropriate ways) to reinforce what we seek in our students: to be kind, to listen well, to respect the diversity of opinion, to check facts, to test assumptions, to be creative problem solvers and to participate – – as they did today in Green Hedges’ mock election. In short, we fall back on Green Hedges’ core values as well as our country’s democratic process and balance of power among multiple parties, states and branches of the federal government.
Conversations about this election, be they at home or at school, may be difficult to navigate. To that end, we have assembled the resources noted below that may be useful as you help your child make sense of the election. We join you in partnership to support the respectful behavior that is synonymous with members of the GHS Community.