December 14, 2017

Gifts To The World

4th grade and Pre-K students working together
to build a block structure in our preschool
Each December our preschool and elementary classes end the calendar year with a long-standing Friends School tradition: a beading ceremony that includes teachers recognizing each student for his or her “gifts to the world”.

Parents who are new to Friends often ask what this is about and why we do it. 

Our school is a place where everyone is nurtured and respected for his or her individuality and contributions to the good of the whole. We hold in high esteem rituals and traditions that help children develop self-awareness and understanding of themselves as part of the bigger world.

In reflection of this philosophy, each class hosts a short ceremony where every child is celebrated for her or his own unique gifts.  Teachers read a short message from a card that highlights how each of their students show up in the world and the good they bring to the wider community.

In addition, each child is presented with a bead that is lovingly made by members of our community.  Students receive two beads a year so by the end of 5th grade, if the child started at Friends in our preschool, they have a necklace of 16 beads. Each bead tells a story of who the child has been through several developmental stages.

Our Gifts To The World ceremony is a connected and moving time that parents strive to attend.  In a recent faculty meeting, I asked our elementary teachers why they believe it is essential to continue these traditions that were started so many years ago. Each of the teachers spoke of the importance of honoring each child, of walking the walk that our students are known and loved, and of recognizing the diversity and uniqueness of everyone.

It is a wonderful way, along with our Winter Celebrations, of wrapping up the year.

There will be no Happenings or Among Friends blog next Friday, the first day of winter break.  Whether you stay home, or wander afar this winter, I wish for you and your family a safe, restful and peaceful couple of weeks.  May your very own gifts to the world shine bright! 

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