Fayerweather has long been a school dedicated to helping children develop a deep understanding of social justice and creating an environment where everyone is accepted and feels a sense of belonging. This commitment to diversity, social justice and anti-bias work is foundational to our community and a critical aspect to our teaching and our mission. We strive to help our students understand their place in the world and how they can affect positive change and promote equity for themselves and others.
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.
Examples of this work include first and second graders comparing and contrasting gender stereotypes by examining toy advertisements, and third and fourth graders petitioning sports teams that use mascots and symbols perpetuating stereotypes of Indigenous Peoples. Our oldest students address issues of bias through curriculum units such as Justice and Dissent in which they study the Holocaust and American Civil Rights Movements. During these studies, students learn about human rights activists and unsung heroes to better understand and unpack biases.
Our goal is to broaden students’ views of themselves and their communities, both local and global. Our curriculum and social justice work is always being informed by current events and the experiences of our students, staff, and families.