Rainbow Community School has always been a safe haven for introverted children.  In a world where social aggressiveness has be glorified, especially in the competitive public education model, Rainbow has always had a way of understanding and honoring the power of the introvert.

Three insights from Rainbow on educating introverts:

1.  Provide “in-breath and out-breath” time.  At Rainbow, we have active and “outward” times of day; but unlike most schools, those are balanced with “inward” times.  Every day has moments of silence, such as when we take three breaths together at morning centering, or when we watch nature, or when we decide to have a meditational lunch.

2. Provide many speaking opportunities where introverts can share about something they are passionate about in a safe space — with their classmates.  That eventually builds up to speaking in front of the whole community.  However, if they are actually terrified, allow them to “pass” until they are comfortable.  It takes time to build trust.

3. Allow introverts to find a role they are comfortable with.  Instead of forcing a terrified child to sing in a performance, a Rainbow teacher might ask them to take on another role, such as being in charge of costumes or props.  Such a role actually makes them a leader in the eyes of their peers, and builds confidence.

How Parents And Teachers Can Nurture The ‘Quiet Power’ Of Introverts

Elissa Nadworny of NPR's Education Team expands on Susan Cain's latest book, "Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts" for kids and teens.

Elissa Nadworny of NPR’s Education Team expands on Susan Cain’s latest book, “Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts” for kids and teens.

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