Every morning I am able, I greet students and their families at the front door of the school. As they enter, I shake hands and welcome them to the start of new school day.

Sometimes I feel so busy, I am tempted to skip this morning ritual and instead tend to my never-shrinking inbox. And let’s be honest, it gets darn cold standing at the front door in the middle of Minnesota winter! So, why do I do it?

I believe:

  1. It is essential to feel known. One of my goals as head of school is to know every student’s name and family members.
  2. Each handshake builds community, a core Quaker value.
  3. Morning greetings set a positive tone to the day, reminding each person that they matter.
  4. Seeing each student arrive energizes me. Some bound in like Tigger, others shuffle by sleepily, some have a funny story to share. Each morning, welcoming our community fills me with a joy that sustains me in my work.
  5. Progressive education is all about hands-on learning. For some shy children, learning to shake hands and greet another person is like scaling Mount Everest. Practicing a handshake a hundred times a year – well, it just doesn’t get more hands-on than that.
Head of School Lili greets students each morning.
Lili greets students each morning.