At Rectory, each child is honored for being a unique individual. It is important that they understand that they are responsible for themselves, their learning, and we celebrate their strengths as well as embrace their weaknesses. In this way, our academic curriculum is equally important as our social/emotional curriculum.
Each morning, the elementary children gather in their classrooms to start the day with a Morning Meeting. The goal is to welcome each child to the school day, and let them know that their presence is important to us. We are better when we are all doing our best, and supporting each other.
We model this from the one of the Bantu dialects of Africa, and its traditional African philosophy that offers us an understanding of ourselves in relation to the world. As you enter into the elementary school, the first thing that you see in the lobby are the words "I am what I am because of who we all are." The South African Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu describes Ubuntu as: "the essence of being human. A person with Ubuntu is welcoming, hospitable, warm and generous, willing to share. Such people are open and available to others, willing to be vulnerable, affirming of others, do not feel threatened that others are able and good, for they have a proper self-assurance that comes from knowing that they belong in a greater whole." (www.hisoryplex.com/ubuntu)
In May, 2011, I had the unforgettable opportunity to hear Archbishop Tutu speak in Hartford, CT when he kicked off the World Youth Peace Summit. At the time, Susannah Lemoine was our grade 4 teacher and the two of us drove from Rectory into Hartford on a Friday night to hear him at his last public speaking engagement in the United States. He was a friendly, gentle man, who was very small in stature. But, what I remembered most was the light that emanated from his being. It was apparent to all who gathered that evening, that he truly lived and believed in the peace that he spoke about, and his love for humanity was palpable.
As we gather in community each day at Rectory, we want to inspire each of our students to feel positive about themselves, and know that even though they are also little, they can make a difference and be a light in the world around them.