We can boil the Wonder systems to just two choices that ensure a happy, fruitful learning journey:
- Be kind.
- Do some work every day.
Yes, but not always easy.
It actually takes time and practice to become strong in both. But we believe learning them deeply will position our Wonders well for the rest of their lives. With this goal, our systems are built to support growth – providing grace and forgiveness with accountability and feedback – all along the way. By the time a Wonder progresses through elementary school, middle school and high school, they have gained a high level of complex decision-making around these two choices.
For example, in the very early years, kindness is as simple as not hitting each other and not saying mean words. Soon, layered into this experience is learning that not distracting each other during work time is an act of kindness. Then, Wonders learn to make peace with each other using the Conflict Resolution process and giving and receiving feedback that is kind yet tough, warm and cool. Later, kindness includes learning how to apologize well and deciphering the difference between kind-hearted and mean-spirited humor. Finally, in high school, kindness is played out through authentic servant leadership grounded in honesty, humility, and confidence.
The same sort of progression happens in terms of learning the habit of working every day. What begins as short but daily spurts of reading, writing and math progresses into three-hour sessions of daily work and ultimately, uninterrupted deep work experienced as flow. The work ethic is built step by step with the gratifying experience of earning badges of mastery and experiencing what excellence feels like. Mediocrity won’t satisfy once you’ve tasted excellence.
The simple choices of being kind and working each day end up feeding each other so the alternative doesn’t make sense anymore as a good way to live life.
Dr. Seuss said, “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
Just be kind and do some work. That’s it.
[Blogs or portion of blogs may be adapted from the blog of our partner school founder and advisor, Laura Sandefer.]