School Life
Social-Emotional Learning

Developing Character and Self-Discipline at KCS

We often hear from parents, students and staff that KCS is an amazing place to be.  We know how much everyone appreciates the sense of community we have here and our commitment to “Knowing What Matters in Life”.  Having said that, it should come as no surprise that having 387 students together every day, for up to nine hours a day, will sometimes include mistakes in behaviour. Mistakes happen everywhere and to everyone; unfortunately, no one is immune to them. These mistakes can result from not thinking, not fully understanding the scope of one’s actions (a particular challenge for children), or can be rooted in unkind intentions. In the same way that we want students to learn from academic mistakes, we consider it a high priority to set students up to be successful with their behavior, to teach our students how to face their mistakes when they happen, and to learn from these mistakes so that they avoid them in future.
It is very important to us that we help our students learn in the area of all four of our doors - Academics, Arts, Athletics, and Citizenship - and because of this, character education is an integral part of our students’ learning.  The majority of this character education takes place each and every day within the classroom, under the guidance of teachers.  Students are directly taught the Habits of Mind, Body, and Action and have these and our three school rules reinforced through teacher modeling and in our daily interactions with each other.  We use various formal programs and resources to inspire discussions around issues of character that are both age and developmentally appropriate for our students.  For most problems that arise, students are encouraged to work through them together. Teachers discuss them with the students, either one-on-one, in small groups or to the class as a whole, in a way that is respectful to all parties involved.
When more serious mistakes happen, we similarly work to ensure students face them and learn from them.  We recognize that there is more than one side to every story, so we listen to all sides and ask many questions to ensure that the facts and context are clear.  Multiple actions are taken to ensure serious offences do not continue and the impact of poor choices are understood.  Extra supervision is usually part of this strategy. We do this in a way that respects the dignity of all, in a way that is developmentally appropriate for the child involved, and in a way that the teachers, Mrs. Drummond and Mme Fanjoy think will be most successful for any child in this situation. Only those involved are aware of what we are doing. Though others might not see it, we are doing plenty.
Discipline is a fundamental part of being a capable, accomplished citizen. KCS faculty are committed to helping students develop a strong sense of self-discipline which in turn helps develop respect for oneself and others. We recognize that all people make mistakes. When we do, it is important to be honest, learn from our mistakes, make things right, and commit to not repeating them. – KCS Family Handbook, pg 12
No one is happy when mistakes and conflicts arise, so KCS puts significant effort into directly teaching students how to avoid them. However, learning how to deal well with one’s own mistakes, and also with the inevitable social challenges that befall all of us eventually, is part of becoming a confident, competent adult. These are lessons that must be learned. These skills are part of knowing what matters in life. And as with everything else we do, we take it very seriously.
Parents who wish to learn more about how we develop character and self-discipline at KCS are invited to contact Tamara Drummond, Director of Student Life ( or Andrea Fanjoy, Assistant Head, Academics ( .
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