At East Woods, our character education program is focused on the ideal of teaching and sustaining a community of kindness. We prioritize the importance of having respect for self and others, and the responsibility of giving back to local and global communities.
Character education is a priority at East Woods. This is reflected in the Mission Statement: “...fostering strength of character.” The Vision Statement also echoes this commitment to character education: “Graduates will emerge from East Woods prepared to be contributing citizens and compassionate leaders in a complex and changing world.”
Character education at East Woods is both modeled and taught. The partnership between teachers, parents, students, and community members working together helps to support positive character development for all students.
The curricular program at East Woods is structured to help teach students how to be caring and responsible community members. Starting with the youngest students in the Early Childhood Center, the children are taught how to treat others with kindness, how to share, and how to be a successful member of the class. This teaching is done through read-alouds and activities, class discussions, and modeling.
In the elementary grades known as Lower School, teachers use the Responsive Classroom educational philosophy which supports character education. Responsive Classroom is a research-based social and emotional learning program that emphasizes social, emotional, and academic growth. Responsive Classroom daily practices such as morning meeting and closing circle build community within the classroom and help children learn the following set of social and emotional skills: cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self-control. The teachers also weave character education into their daily instruction.
In the middle school grades of Fifth through Eighth Grade, students are assigned to a faculty advisor who oversees a small group of students. The advisor serves as a support, advocate, and mentor for the students, and they meet on a weekly basis for planned activities and discussions. The advisory program, which was uniquely developed by the school for its students, is designed to provide an opportunity for each student to form a close relationship with a member of the faculty, who works in concert with all of the student's teachers to create a positive academic, social, and emotional school experience. The advisor supports students in managing all aspects of school life, and helps students develop positive character traits and strong decision-making skills. Advisors have frequent, open communication with parents about student growth and progress, and parents are encouraged to contact the advisor for help in handling any concerns.