Lower School Tree Talk- Dr. Harper’s Guest Blog
During Tuesday morning’s Tree Talk, we continued our exploration of Community. In “kids’ speak” (just in case you’d like to continue our discussion at your house!), here’s what we discussed:
Communities include groups of people who learn and play together, who have different talents and interests, who work towards a common purpose, and treat each other well. If we all try to take the Character Tree traits (compassion, courage, dedication, honor, respect, responsibility, spirit) “off of the walls and into the world,” our community works better, has more energy, can do more, and is happier and healthier in all ways. Our larger Ravenscroft community also includes Middle and Upper School students and all of the adults who work and teach on our campus. (It also includes our families and our alumni students and teachers…but that’s another Talk!) There are lots of smaller communities (athletic teams, fine arts ensembles, homerooms, grade levels…) within our larger Ravenscroft community.
Five students from Middle School and two from Upper School shared their ideas about community with us. Those students participate in smaller communities, too – like football, Battle of the Books, baseball, church, family, and student government. When asked what they each brought to their communities…and what makes those communities work, they talked about ideas like hard work; different skills, interests, and abilities; leadership; friendship; cooperating with others; trying hard; and not giving up. Mrs. Hobbs read a book called Spoon to us. The book emphasizes that we all have different strengths and are an important, unique part in things working well—and it illustrates that concept in ways that even our littlest Ravens could understand. We closed by singing the Character Tree Song.
Here are few more thoughts: It seems an important time in our children’s lives and in our own lives to be promoting living in vibrant, respectful community. Certainly, we want to have a school where each of its members feel they belong and are valued. In our handbook, we state that we would like our school community to ‘promote common courtesies and affirm kind and respectful treatment of children and adults. … We value students who accept, appreciate, assist, and include others.” In addition to encouraging academics, play, and fine arts, we are working together to be sure that everyone feels accepted, affirmed, included, and respected. Mrs. Hobbs is leading discussions on inclusion; 5th graders are having book talks on Wonder by R.J. Palacio, faculty are all reading a book by Stan Davis, Schools Where Everyone Belongs. Mr. Davis will be visiting Ravenscroft later in the year to help us strengthen our community and more effectively deal with whatever emotional or physical unkindnesses occur –or, more serious bullying if it occurs. Divisional Tree Talks, Parent Coffees, and classroom guidance lessons will focus on similar topics, in addition to the usual lessons on problem-solving, ‘tattles vs. tells’, friendships, playground politics, and perspective-taking, among other topics.
As you know, we are interested in growing good people – as well as good students! We invite your participation, assistance at home, and ideas!
Dr. Chris Harper (Lower School Guidance Counselor)