Khahtee V Turner
On Fundamental Empathy
We believe that Roberts Field nurtures one of the most important qualities of being a constructive and just member of society; fundamental empathy in the young student.
Concurrent with the societal pressure to achieve and the rapid pace of technology that takes center place within our world, simultaneously we can regularly explore the idea of holistic equilibrium and success in our daily lives. Moving forward into this era of looking more closely at what individuals actually need to be happy, we are called to reflect on the common denominators which typically give people a lifelong sense of wholeness, meaning, and belonging. In this exploration one question arises: If we neglect the skills, knowledge or desire to deal with life, situations, and other people empathetically, by what measure would we consider ourselves successful?
Roberts Field was created within a mission that upholds the guidance of education to extensively and deeply ignite the various facets in which we think, create, and learn in order to contribute to the child's positive formative sense of worth and wholeness. We believe that through learning within our school, specific and special connections and passions are being built and discovered, and that the voice that one may be aware of having--or, that others may not realize they possess--is regularly seen, heard, and acknowledged. This voice and self-awareness then blooms with confidence from an continuous wellspring of both a love of learning and a belief in the ongoing growth of one's own learning capacity. As a school, we establish this type of formative acknowledgment of the student as key to the development of happiness at school and what we believe to be the foundation of a successful life--fundamental empathy.
Most distinctly, the interdisciplinary approach where mediums and subjects such as the arts, philosophy, math, and science may all intersect in a lesson, experiment, or a project does awaken the child to the many portals through which comprehensive knowledge becomes available. It also empowers the child to pursue knowledge as they are led into research and explorations, not just through standard methods, but also through creative expression and utilizing their imagination. We know that when the full depth of our internal landscapes are tapped into, we are further motivated, inspired, and challenged in our capacity. As we educate, our mission's premise is founded upon this formal acknowledgement of the child as an unlimited learner, and by activating and directing the deeper parts of their capacious and creative minds, they are therefore happier. In particular, having the Field of an unconventional learning environment in nature as a recurrent interface of interconnectivity further expands their intuitive understanding of the foundations of life and how equally nature belongs to all.
When we are happy and full we have more to give, and we are more motivated to understand the world beyond ourselves. Establishing fundamental empathy is a window of opportunity particularly unique to early and elementary education. As our children's minds most rapidly build, it is crucial that we show them the multidimensional and omni-directional nature of their innate gifts, mostly stemming from their ability to imagine. As the human species evolved, it was the advent of the imagination's pulse and its expression that took us to the next level in our survival and success. This quality and property of our creative consciousness not only allowed us to envision, it allowed us to imagine what another might need or might be feeling. We must also be continuously nurtured to empathize. True empathy requires a distinctly advanced skill: to not only be able to know and imagine what another feels, but also to be capable of actively caring. Most probably in the future, the continued expansion of our creative and imaginative applications, coupled with our intelligence and ability to empathize, will allow us to evolve as beings of greater kindness and compassion and will take us to the next great level of thought and function in our existence.
We teach our students that we share the world, as well as our experience of it. We teach our students to participate in this world as citizens that care. We teach our students that this way of life takes great intelligence and strength, and that it is the path of such full and meaningful success