Fayerweather is committed to helping children develop a deep understanding of social justice and an awareness of their potential role in making the world more equitable. From the earliest years, children engage in discussions about equity, stereotypes and different “-isms”. These discussions often arise organically out of children’s own wonderings and observations of the world around them. Children begin to learn what it means to stand up for another, or be an “upstander”, by role playing and encouraging one another. These experiences set the stage for deeper, more developmentally sophisticated discussions in the middle grades about injustices, and the people and movements that have worked to effect change.
Third and fourth graders learn about upstanders and look for opportunities to be upstanders themselves. For example, in 2014-2015 during their study of the Wampanoag People, students learned that several cities changed Columbus Day to Indigenous People's Day and persuaded Fayerweather to do the same. The change reflects our school's commitment to social justice and models to our students that they have the power to make change within their own community.
In the seventh and eighth grades, students engage in a powerful project where they research and impersonate an individual who stood up for social justice and then create a well-rehearsed monologue for parents and community members. Students also delve deeply into studies of immigration, Manifest Destiny, the U.S. government, the Holocaust, and the African American Civil Rights Movement. Through these topics, students grapple with difficult questions of power and inequality.
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Fayerweather has taught me the importance of identity, acceptance and the value of standing up for causes. -Fayerweather Graduate '15