What are the “PIRCs” of a St. George’s Education, you ask? Well, there are many!
Lower School students are supported by a community of talented educators who deeply believe that educating the whole child is paramount to success. We do a great deal of our social and emotional coaching using our four character values: perseverance, integrity, respect and compassion-- the PIRC Values!
Learning is not done in isolation; therefore addressing the social and emotional skills along with academic goals provides a holistic approach to teaching and learning that is both positive and productive. These values encompass what we believe are the most important qualities that lead to the development of a successful and fulfilled adolescent-- and later, adult. However, we also acknowledge that understanding these words as a 4-, 6-, or 8-year-old can be a daunting task, so we decided to do something about that!
During summer professional development, the Lower School team spent an afternoon exploring the meaning behind our values through the lens of a young child. From this deep dive, we created four child-friendly definitions, one for each value, and we created a list of actions (actionable behaviors) that exhibit each value to give concrete examples of how a child can “be” that value. During the first 6-8 weeks of school, teachers used Tuesday morning meetings (i.e. Character T-Shirt Tuesday) to deepen your children’s understanding of these powerful characteristics. And throughout the year, teachers will focus on various aspects of the values as specific grade levels need support in a particular area.
When students shine in one of our PIRC Values, we shout them out! For example, a 1st grade teacher shouted out a student who spent a full week working on editing and re-editing their small moment story in writing without giving up - they persevered! When a 4th grade student noticed a friend sitting alone at lunch, they got up from their seat and joined that student. The teachers shouted them out for showing compassion.
We also use our PIRC Values to support students when they make a mistake or a decision that is unkind. We call on students to use integrity to tell the truth and own up to their choices, even if it wasn’t a great one, because we know that admitting our mistakes and talking through them is the best way to learn how to do better next time. When a child says or does something unkind, we call on respect and remind our students to be supportive, coaching them through how to build their friends up rather than tear them down.
When we do this, we create a community of incredible students who think of others, who display honesty in all that they do, who keep trying even when it’s tough, and who treat others the way they want to be treated. We firmly believe that students with all of those skills exceed far beyond the greatness of their academic successes and will become truly impactful contributors to the world around them.
The pictures above show our students wearing their Character T-Shirts (worn every Tuesday on campus), our fourth graders' PIRC posters and kind messages written to each other and other activities completed during Life Skills class or Morning Meeting.