Third graders are known for their enthusiasm and tendency to set and tackle ambitious goals. Empathy, perspective-taking, and problem-solving are all tools that our social-emotional learning curriculum builds in these bundles of passion and energy. These tools are vitally important throughout the day and year as our eight and nine-year-olds explore issues of identity, equity, and justice, which are core components of our values as a Quaker school.
What identifiers can I use to describe parts of who I am?
How does my life experience compare to those of other people?
Who has power in this situation?
Who is speaking and whose voice is missing?
How does our perspective influence our ideas?
What can I do when I disagree with someone’s words or behaviors?
These are just a sample of the kinds of questions at the core of conversations, both intentional and spontaneous, in the third-grade classroom. They provide a framework for a discussion about how recess feels to everyone or for students comparing the perspectives of the white colonists and Wampanoag people who shared a meal together in 1621. The Moses Brown third grade curriculum is rich with opportunities for students to gain a greater sense of who they are and how their own experience is similar and different from others. As important, they are empowered to use their voices and their energy to address inequity and injustice when they see it, whether by writing to their local politicians about the plight of local right whales or teaching the rest of the division about hunger in our neighborhood as they collect food for Thanksgiving baskets.
Third graders also participate in multi-age Diversity Workshops three times throughout the year. Workshops evolve from year to year, but recent ones have included discussions about being multiracial, how skin color affects peoples’ lives today, the impact of neurodiversity for each of us as learners, and about privilege and its role in our lives.Inquire