Fayerweather is committed to helping children develop a deep understanding of social justice and an appreciation of their power to make the world more equitable. From the earliest years, children engage in discussions about identity, equity, stereotypes and different “-isms”. Children begin to learn what it means to stand up for others by role playing and encouraging one another. These experiences set the stage for deeper, more developmentally sophisticated discussions in the middle grades, about injustice and the people and movements that have worked to effect change.
The 3rd/4th grade's learning was particularly powerful and relevant this winter. The class took some time to learn about the protests at Standing Rock. Students found natural connections to their study of Wampanoag History and Culture. As they examined more closely this example of how so many people from around North America organized to stop the construction of the pipeline, the students came to realize that this was a powerful example of a social justice movement that had been strengthened by upstanders.
Each January, our entire school community comes together to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at our All School Meeting. During this hour-long assembly classes share projects, introduce new initiatives and sing songs which are connected to the values that Dr. King espoused. Each presentation highlights and emphasizes that it is the responsibility of all of us to continue to ensure that his words live on in our actions.
In the weeks around Martin Luther King, Jr. Day the bulletin boards throughout the school become a museum exhibit featuring the work of students and their learning and explorations in each class. Whether it is the PreK and K’s Skin Color Recipes and Self-Portraits, the 1st/2nd grade's and the 3rd/4th grade’s study of Upstanders, the 5th/6th grade’s examples of Hidden Voices, Hidden Stories or the 7th/8th’s Take Action Thursdays, it is clear each grade’s curriculum reflects Fayerweather’s commitment to social justice and models to our students that they have the power to make change within their own community and the larger world.