Where Academics and Character Are Classmates: Character Building Tools at Home and at School
Marin Mommies presents a sponsored article from Marin Horizon School, which offers education for children from toddler through 8th grade in Mill Valley.
Children as young as two years old are already beginning to build social awareness and an understanding of their place in the world. Parents often chose schools with strong character-building programs, like Marin Horizon, because they value having their children educated in a culture of integrity, respect, and responsibility. It is in the heartfelt partnership between parents and schools that children are taught the core values and skills that create strong character.
It is in the heartfelt partnership between parents and schools that children are taught the core values and skills that create strong character.
In the nearly 40 years since its founding, Marin Horizon School has crafted a curriculum that is integrated and interdisciplinary. Where traditional schools begin with “me” and move out, Marin Horizon begins with a global view to give children a “mental file box” of reference points to help them understand the world as they learn about it. It’s a different kind of education; something unexpected nestled beneath the foothills of Mount Tamalpais Marin Horizon is a school that takes the “whole child” approach to a new level and is grounded firmly in the belief that academics and integrity are of equal importance.
As parents and educators, we have a unique opportunity to help develop future leaders. The following character-building tools can be used at home or at school:
- Knowledge of Self
Self-awareness enables students to build on their positive qualities by understanding their own strengths and areas for growth. At Marin Horizon, students develop an understanding of their personal learning styles and take an active role in goal setting. At home, parents can build upon this skill by encouraging children to reflect on challenging situations that they have encountered. Ask your child to reflect upon “why” they may have behaved or acted in a certain way. Make sure to recognize and investigate the positive behaviors and actions so they can identify and develop their strengths.
- Ethical Decision Making
By building communication and critical thinking skills from a young age, students interact respectfully with each other while becoming decision makers who are compelled to do the right thing. We nurture leadership and public speaking skills from preschool through middle school. One way parents can support leadership development is by sharing examples of morally courageous leaders. Visit the library and check out books featuring some of your personal heroes then read them together, sharing why and how you feel they made a difference in the world.
- Creative Problem Solving
At Marin Horizon, students learn to work collaboratively and embrace ingenuity in identifying and solving problems. Our instruction recognizes the present and future need for children to become keen problem solvers, critical thinkers, and innovators. These skills are introduced to very young children and honed as they grow older. We emphasize the group problem solving process where students work through issues in a respectful, cooperative setting. When faced with a problem at home, explore with your child the many options before them. Ask them which of the options would make them feel proud.
Marin Horizon students see each other as partners, cheering for each other, rather than competing against each other. We utilize mixed age classrooms to develop community and commitment to others; a kindergartner, for instance, will mentor preschool students and then learn from older peers as they move through the elementary grades. Character development is enhanced by opportunities to do good in the world. Modeling empathy at home, whether it is volunteering alongside your child or hugging them after a skinned knee, can go a long way in helping them develop respect for themselves and others.
Marin Horizon School believes that every child can grow up to make a difference in the world. Every day, our faculty enthusiastically delivers a top-notch education to children from preschool through middle school in joyful classrooms where academics and integrity are of equal importance. We do this because the world doesn’t just need smart people. The world needs smart people with the courage to be kind and to stand up for what’s right.
We invite you to learn more about our program by visiting www.marinhorizon.org and scheduling a tour.