Here at Grace, we are very excited to be sharing our campus with the Oneness-Family High School, especially since we have so many similarities in our educational philosophies and approach to learning. Although Grace and Oneness serve children at opposite ends of the age spectrum, both schools value the teaching of peace and loving-kindness within the context of a rich, student-centered academic program. And both schools are particularly concerned with making sure that their students develop twenty first century skills: communication, collaboration, and creativity.
I recently had the chance to sit down and talk with some of the Oneness-Family High School students who share our campus. We talked in their spacious classroom suite about their impressions of their new school program, what they thought of their Kensington campus, and the connections they are making with their friends, teachers, and the Grace community.
And about those classrooms — wow. They are amazing spaces for high schoolers to learn and come together. The classrooms were designed and built by a Oneness parent who worked tirelessly over the summer to create spaces that embodied the school’s philosophy. Truly, every corner has been designed with intention. There’s flexible seating, a meditation cube, a small kitchen area, and — yes! — live moss on the walls.
The Oneness students I talked to were remarkable individuals: open, friendly, articulate, and curious. Some of them shared their journeys to this new high school program with me, and I was struck by the diverse educational backgrounds from which they come. Some have spent most of their academic lives at Oneness, but several are new to the school and to a Montessori program. Some have been homeschooled up until now. At least one comes from a large public middle school. Yet all of the students are thriving and everyone I talked to mentioned how wonderful it is to have time, space, and freedom for learning in their own way and at their own pace.
The Oneness students were curious about Grace, too. They asked about the ages of our students here, and where they go after they’re finished at Grace. One of the students wanted to know about our religious affiliation and how much that affects what we do at Grace. But by far their biggest question was about our school pet and informal ambassador, Coniglio! “What’s with the bunny?” “Is he supposed to be freely roaming the school?” “He’s so cute!” “I love him!”
I loved having the opportunity to talk to our newest partners on campus. Even though they have only been together a few months as a group, the connection between these students is palpable and energizing. They laugh with each other and care for each other. They inspire one another’s learning. They support one another’s extracurricular activities, which are many and varied: there are dancers, singers, artists, and poets. They laugh and smile a lot. But what made the biggest impression on me was that several of the students I spoke with thanked me warmly for the fact that they got to share our space at Grace. Now that’s a partnership to love!
Want to learn more about the Oneness-Family High School?