Since the beginning of the school year, the PKS elementary school has been using its assemblies and Jiating (family group) activities to explore the schoolwide Habits of Character. We integrate our community values into our daily lives in the classroom, at recess, and out in the world.
On Saturday, March 4, we came together as a community to express our values of caring and resilience at our first-ever PKS Red Cross Blood Drive. In honor of our former Head of School Lee Drolet’s daughter, children talked about the importance of giving blood, encouraged adults to donate, and even signed up to volunteer at the blood drive themselves!
PKS students helped the Red Cross by greeting donors at the door of the school, organizing and distributing snacks, and thanking donors as they exited. They took the job seriously -- measuring out orange juice with scientific precision and counting Nilla Wafers, Oreo cookies, and cheese crackers to ensure fairness. (They may also have eaten a few cookies reserved for donors.)
The children had many questions about how the Red Cross takes blood from adults -- do they hang people upside down? Do they cut a hole in their skin? Children were relieved to learn one small needle prick will usually do the job. They wanted to know why the Red Cross nurses were so emphatic about donors sitting down to have a drink and snack after their donation. Between the waves of donors, children were also excited to ask the nurses and phlebotomists questions about how blood is stored and delivered to hospitals.
Emma, a first grade student, said, “It felt good to help others, even though there was a lot of waiting.” Simon, a fourth grader, said, “My parents couldn’t give blood because they lived in Europe during the 80s, but I still enjoyed giving the donors juice and cookies."
Our school’s service learning and social justice committees are run by passionate parents who create philanthropy and community events as a core part of our mission. The tremendous turnout by PKS families at the Blood Drive and other service learning and social justice events speaks volumes about our school’s culture and values.
At PKS, we want our children to witness parents, teachers and staff giving back firsthand, and we provide meaningful, frequent opportunities for children to participate. As our children grow into adults, we hope they will strive for democratic participation and philanthropy and feel empowered to change the world.
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