The School's objective is not simply to teach children to be good students; it also bears the responsibility to encourage them to be good citizens and, over time, to internalize the core values of respect, responsibility, and honesty.
Perhaps no mandate in Key School's Mission Statement lies closer to the heart of the community than its injunction to:
"Sustain an ethical school culture that engenders an inherent respect for the dignity of every human being, recognizes that personal liberty must be balanced by personal responsibility and individual action by the needs of others, and stresses to all members of the School community the importance of trust, mutual respect, and compassion."
Key School does not rely primarily on the enforcement of rules to teach students these values; it uses a method of instruction that may best be described as discursive.
Experience shows that, in most cases, the most powerful lessons about how to behave are learned through rational discourse with respected adults. Students learn to respect and uphold the School's values through discussion with teachers and other adult members of the community. Students also learn values at Key School from their peers and from behaviors they observe being modeled by adults. Through this process, children understand for themselves the importance of the School's values and feel invested in the welfare of the School community.