Community within Lower Division
Students in Lower Division begin the year focusing on classroom community building activities. As Lower Division Rooms 12 and 14 develop an awareness of their role in a community beyond family, students in Rooms 15, 5, and 7 move quickly to establish new communities with an emphasis on the importance of each member’s contribution. Using the Responsive Classroom approach, accepting responsibilities such as a daily class job and participating in the classroom morning meeting are two key components of community building in all Lower classrooms. Daily student jobs include cleaning lunch tables, managing supplies, and caring for class pets. The morning meeting establishes community through participation in a daily class greeting in which all members participate and provides a time for students to make connections to classmates as they listen to the shared ideas and interests of peers.
As classroom communities are created, the larger division community begins to take shape through an important division time of day, lunch recess. Recess provides an opportunity for all Lower Division students to participate in a variety of activities across all grade levels. Examples of all inclusive recess activities include large group games such as tag, hockey, and Capture the Flag as well as unstructured fantasy play such as ponies and Star Wars. Capture the Flag, an ever popular recess game, is organized so that teams are balanced with equal numbers of younger and older players. All players have an opportunity to take on the role of team captain or referee. While teachers oversee the game, students of all ages lead teams and monitor play. Numerous opportunities arise as older students guide younger peers and younger students contribute to the shared team experience. Over the course of just a few short weeks, recess provides important opportunities for community building, a community that will continue to be fostered throughout the year.