Let’s Change

Michael Brown, Ph.D. | Brevard, NC

We are a school for peace. This is central to our mission, our educational philosophy, our culture, and our practice. It is infused into all aspects of our curriculum and our relationships.

And because of our commitment to peace, we must acknowledge that peace and justice are not evenly distributed in our world, and we must work even harder to make sure that is the case. We can do better.

Our culture is currently convulsed by anger and fear as we yet again confront the realities of systemic racism and histories of oppression and violence. We stand in solidarity with our Black friends and neighbors. We must remember that “right now” is always for people of color. 

It is my sincere hope that the current outcry does not merely fade into the background as a moment in which we shared only words but one in which we continue to make commitments to do the work necessary to bring peace and justice to all. We will do so.

As a school, our first duty is to our children, and learning to talk about racism can be challenging for all of us both in the classroom and at home. As we articulate our curriculum across the grades, we will continue to find ways to develop our approaches to social justice, equity, and anti-racism. Further, we hope to be a resource for families in their journey and conversations, and we will continue to educate ourselves about programs and resources to carry out this work. 

We must also recognize that we can do more to increase and understand different kinds of diversity in our school as we strive to become more equitable and inclusive. We will need help in this work, and we will do so together as a school community and with our partners in Transylvania County and beyond. I know that we can do more, and our first step is to continue to listen.

Our Natural Play Project was born out of the hope of providing inclusive access and comfort with the outdoors to all members of our diverse communities in Transylvania County. Through this work, we have developed strong relationships with Rise and Shine, El Centro, and The Family Place, and we will continue to cultivate those connections as we develop that program. We have received some grant funding for our model natural playscape on Harmony Hill, and our work on site development will begin in earnest in the fall. Now, more than ever, we need to find ways for all to connect with each other in the joy and balm of the natural world. 

I don’t know the answers. But I do believe in the strength and power of our community to learn and get better. Let’s listen together.