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Heads Up: Nurturing Curiosity in Our Students and Ourselves

The following message from Head of School Ben Kennedy appeared in this weekend’s Heads Up, a weekly email for Friends Academy families.

As part of the Book Buzz at All-School Meetings, we hear students connecting their favorite books to one or more of the FA Bees. One of the most frequently cited FA Bees is “Be Curious.”

One of the values we hope to inspire in our students is to be more curious than certain. I see teachers and students actively building this competency in our classrooms every day. When I watch a group of Farmhouse students taking time to examine a caterpillar they discovered on the playground, I see us encouraging wonder. When I walk into a Middle School math class and observe students being given the opportunity to collaborate and make sense of a tricky problem together, I see us nurturing this curiosity.

Just over a week ago, I read an opinion piece by David Brooks that asked readers to consider curiosity in a slightly different way. For the last four years, Brooks has been researching and writing a book about how to “teach people how to understand others, how to make them feel respected, valued and understood.” Interestingly, Brooks finds, being “curious about other people” is a central part of building these vital social skills. 

As a school, we understand that it is essential for children to be seen and respected in order to learn. What Brooks rightly points out, however, is that we all have an important role to play in this. We must be curious about one another and play an active role in creating the kind of culture and environment we so desire for ourselves.

We all want to be known and understood. But for this to happen, we mustn’t forget that we must also offer this gift to others. In this spirit, we look forward to seeing parents and guardians at Student-Led Conferences this week.

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