At Black Firs we want to begin the life-long education of the whole child. A good model for this life-long education comes from the Sioux Nation and is called the Circle of Courage. The model is presented visually as a wheel with four spokes or supports that keep the wheel turning “true” and strong.
We work to ensure that all four parts of your child’s “circle” are reinforced so that they develop a secure, sociable approach for a contented life. A lack of strength in any of the four areas of development can result in learning and emotional difficulties.
The most important component, upon which the other three are based, is a well developed sense of “Belonging”. Black Firs is a big family. Children have a need to feel valued, important and protected by others; to feel comfortable and welcomed within School. Of course the family and School community are the most important influences in developing a child’s self esteem. To develop this strong feeling of belonging we concentrate on group collaboration and team building, both in sport and in class. Residential visits also allow children to experience a greater sense of belonging with their classmates and teachers. We build a positive attitude because we can’t always choose who we end up working alongside. Everyone shares in the School’s success; a win for the football team, a good drama performance, an academic achievement. We are understanding and supportive of one another’s failure.
Children develop a stronger sense of “Generosity” because the groups to which they belong share time, work, play, resources, and knowledge. They are empathetic toward others and want to help others. They give of themselves or their possessions in some way. They truly have the “joy of giving”, receiving pleasure from helping others in need. Children who have a distorted sense of generosity will be “stingy”, lack concern for the welfare of others, be callous in their interactions with others, and “take” rather than “give”.
Children need to develop a strong “Mastery” and competence in their abilities, seek more skills and knowledge, and be willing to fail or look unskilled when they try new things. A child with an impaired sense of mastery has a low self concept, fears failure, may refuse to try a task for fear of getting it wrong, give up easily, are dependent on others, and/or may devalue and ridicule school or the efforts of others.
Children with a strong sense of “Independence” feel in control of themselves, their behaviour, and their lives. They have a well-developed sense of autonomy, and accept responsibility for themselves and their actions. On the other hand, those who have a lessened sense of independence are likely to engage in “scatter-brained” behaviour, be easily swayed by others, and blame circumstances /others for their actions.
We want our School to be an “Inclusive Environment” where everyone is valued as a family member but recognised as a unique individual with a role to play. We want to help children achieve and develop their sense of skills mastery. By providing opportunities for care giving and helping we can promote generosity. Through wise and supportive teaching, we can help those who misbehave to make better decisions.
Circle of Courage