By Lauren Quinn, Co-Founder & Head of School
Our Mission at The Village School is to guide each child to discover the world around them and the talents within them so that they can find a calling and change the world.
We believe strongly in this mission for two reasons:
- We know that having a calling in life (a purpose larger than oneself) leads to a life rich with meaning.
- We believe that the world needs to change. Whether it’s more love, more peace, more freedom, more beauty- we believe that each of us has a role in making the world a better place.
This mission is big. So where do we start? In our Spark Studio, we start with kindness, empathy, and learning how to use our words to solve problems. In our Elementary Studio, we start with the same but add in a culture of respect, freedom, and- the most important thread of all- responsibility. We know that before we can ask our learners to be responsible for changing the world, they must first be responsible for themselves.
Starting in our Elementary Studios, our heroes are responsible for:
- Their work: Setting goals, finding focus, minimizing distractions
- Their time: Knowing what time it is, being on time, managing their time
- Their choices: Owning choices, being honest, not placing blame or making excuses
Seeing a young person take responsibility for themselves in ways big and small is the first step of a long and fruitful journey of self-directed learning. It’s also a critical step in a Hero’s Journey.
As Parents, we can help by consistently framing our child’s experiences as a series of choices. Here are some examples:
Hero: “I met all of my goals this week!” You: “What choices did you make to reach your goals?” (Practiced daily, sat at my desk, etc.)
Hero: “I didn’t get anything done. Everyone kept distracting me.” You: “What choices did you have? What choices could you make to find more focus?” (Move to another place in the room, wear headphones, tell the person to stop the distracting behavior, etc.)
Hero: “I was late to afternoon discussion because _________.” You: “What choices could you have made to be on time? Moving forward, what choices could you make to make sure you are on time?” (Wear a watch, bring a timer, check the schedule, etc.)
We know these heroes are destined to change the world, even if they don’t know it yet. However, every time I see a learner take responsibility for their work, their time, or their individual choices, I know we are one step closer to our mission.