In the younger grades, teachers actively discuss community, civic responsibility, and various social justice issues, including hunger. Texts, such as Maddi’s Fridge by Lois Brandt, help kids understand complex topics. The social studies curriculum augments many of the discussions regarding citizenship, rights and responsibilities, and an individual’s role in the community.
In middle school, each advisory chooses a local organization to partner with for the year. In the past, the middle school has worked with organizations such as Urban Ministries, Meals on Wheels, TROSA, and the Caring House. Each advisory plans one in-school service activity to benefit this organization, such as a fundraiser or drive. In addition, the students are given multiple opportunities throughout the year to visit the organization and volunteer in person. These service activities are planned and implemented by the students, giving them the opportunity to hone their communication and organizational skills. This year-long service focus helps students develop knowledge about issues that affect our local community and get firsthand experience helping the people of Durham and Chapel Hill.
The students then deepen and expand on their knowledge through hands-on experiences. Several lower school classes have visited the Senior Community Center in Durham. TDS students have made new friends at the senior center by engaging the elderly in arts and crafts activities, book readings and performances.
Individual teachers and classes continue to have smaller service projects that speak to their heart’s mission in life. For example, the kindergarten and 3rd grade classes work together to have a fall and spring lemonade stand for Alex’s Lemonade Stand, the 1st grade continuously collects bottle tabs for the Ronald McDonald house and the TK are recycling experts.