The social justice curriculum at Park Day is integrated into everything we teach, and is designed to help students thrive in a diverse society, while honoring the ways in which we are alike and different. From our youngest Kindergartners to our 8th graders, we teach students the art of perspective taking. Within a hands-on, child-centered, progressive framework, students learn to share ideas openly and with growing cultural competency. This furthers the ability to learn from mistakes, identify privilege, explore inequity, and face challenging conversations. Students are taught to recognize and acknowledge biases that exist in society and to develop and articulate their own values.
Part of this work calls for analyzing the world around us, and having a safe place to discuss feelings and thoughts. All 5th – 8th grade students participate in weekly race based affinity groups facilitated by staff and faculty on campus. For more information listen to our equity storytelling podcast. The Middle School JEDI class is structured so students learn to actively navigate complex conversations within a diverse environment. Our students describe the class as “what makes you mad and what are you going to do about it.” Check out our podcast episode about it!
Schoolwide we discuss current events in developmentally appropropriate ways, and examine history and our present moment with safe scaffolding and brave conversations. Here is an example of how 6th graders processed the Chauvin verdict, and a sample of their work. Below is a video that highlights how Park Day students helped protect a local species whose habitat was being destroyed by making it the official city bird of Oakland.
Park Day School is committed to social justice in our teaching practice, and throughout school life. We uphold the standard that our entire community is part of this work. We embrace diverse perspectives and pledge to continuously assess who we are and how we interact with one another to empower our own agency for positive change.