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Taking Risks in Learning

Over the last few days, I have had many opportunities to connect with our new staff members at St. Clement’s, and to ask them about their first few weeks at the School.

It was no surprise to hear them indicate that they are very much enjoying the girls, their enthusiasm and our engaged learning environment. St. Clement’s is a vibrant and enthusiastic learning community- the students and staff at our school are here because they want to learn, and they work hard. Our staff members are role models for our students- they share their intellectual curiosity, and work with our girls to guide them to take risks in their learning, both inside the classroom and beyond.

A new staff member to whom I was speaking yesterday shared insights confirming, in my mind, that St. Clement’s School is heading in the right direction. He said that he had noticed that many of our girls, while very bright and keen to problem solve, were far more comfortable if they knew that a problem had a solution. I think it is safe to say that most of us feel that way. It is always comforting to know that while we are faced with a difficulty, we will come up with an answer. Having said that, this comment reminded me that in order to help our girls tackle the unknown and take risks in their learning, they must see us model those very same things. At St. Clement’s we see it as part of our responsibility in delivering a solid educational experience to ensure that our girls become flexible and agile enough that, when dealing with complexity, they forge on, seek multiple perspectives and take risks to try things in a different way. This skill is not only vital to learning, it is vital in life. When our girls graduate from St. Clement’s, they must be prepared not only for their ongoing academic careers but also for the inevitable ups and downs of life.

Within our classrooms, our staff are facilitating learning conversations and creating environments where our girls are very much partners in their own learning. With increased confidence and assurance, the girls stretch themselves and demonstrate the ability to take risks in their learning. In addition to classroom time, through our unique LINCWell program, St. Clement’s provides enrichment and support to guide girls through various stages of their development in a conscious and thoughtful way, ensuring solid foundations and courage as they pass through various stages of growth and learning. Grades 1-6 build the foundation for lifelong learning and focus on character education; Grades 7-9 require increased support as our girls navigate through adolescence and move toward independence; and finally Grades 10-12 prepare our girls for the exciting (but sometimes daunting) transitions beyond St. Clement’s.

Life is about working through complexity- there are often no easy answers. St. Clement’s School is committed to building courage within our girls so that they will take risks in their learning and initiative in their lives.

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