Expectations and Requirements
As with all Taproot programming, the experiences and learning are very individualized and there is no single kind of “right way” to be. That said, there are some fundamental guidelines and expectations of participants.
One of our favorite courses ever, Education for Living, taught us that broken commitments are the cause of most suffering. One of the things we hope Foundations participants will observe in their year with us is how they feel when they are honoring their commitments versus not. Students can observe rather quickly and profoundly how doing this, even–and especially–with themselves is an important step in knowing, trusting and honoring themselves.
This is very much a get-out-of-it-what-you-put-into-it experience, one with very little risk or downside. All kids will get challenged, learn and connect to a degree, but in our observation, kids who really engage with the process and people can have transformational experiences. We’d love it if every Foundations student comes in day-one open to the possibility of this being transformational for them.
Respectful Communication and Interaction
At Taproot, we practice Unconditional Positive Regard or UPR, which means that every participant–student and teacher–treat each other with kindness in all communications and interactions. It’s a very important part of our program because of the psychological safety it provides for people when they can expect people to be kind to them. In Foundations, we believe creating a space and community where this is the defacto interpersonal mode is precious, and we expect everyone participating to honor this practice.
Foundations is meant to be a safe place for participants to express themselves and strive to be their authentic selves. Students will be invited to embrace vulnerability and share information about themselves that they may not want to share with the wider world. Keeping confidence means that participants agree that the personal information and stories of others are safe with them, and they will not talk about it with anyone outside of the Foundations group. Participants are welcome and encouraged to talk with family and friends about their own Foundations experiences, but not to share the personal information of other students. An important exception to this is if a student is worried that a Foundations peer is in danger of harming themselves or others; in that case, we encourage them to tell a trusted adult.