Because River School is not just about teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic but is also focused on teaching the character habits of the Four R’s – responsibility, respect, resourcefulness, and responsiveness; our curricular program must include ways to teach these habits. To that end, we have adopted the Ho`ala Educational Philosophy which began in Hawaii in 1972. This philosophy begins with the assumptions that in order to have students model the Four R’s :
1) The best way to “teach” character is by having adults model the behaviors. Middle schoolers can easily detect when adults do not “walk the talk.”
2) Nurturing our students’ need for sense of belonging and connection and a need for a sense of identity or self is critical to having them learn and model the Four R’s.
With these two assumptions in mind, we organize as many aspects of our school to create a school to nurture all our students and to support our teachers in growing into the Four Rs themselves. We also support parents by providing a free parenting class so that they are partnering with the school to empower their children to become more responsible, respectful, resourceful, and responsive. In the end, we want to educate good citizens who will contribute to making our world a better place for all.