Holden and Faylynn turn to face each other, sitting knee to knee. The rest of their classmates watch from their places in the circle. They touch their right thumbs together, wiggling their fingers like the wings of a butterfly. As they “fly” their butterfly in a circle, they greet each other. “Good morning, Holden!” “Good morning, Faylynn!”
Every morning, every child in the school receives a personal greeting from at least one - and sometimes all - of his or her classmates. Today, as the Morning Meeting continues, the children share their hopes and dreams for the school year, sing a silly song about the days of the week, and read a message from their teacher. This rainy morning, tropical storm Hermine looms, so the message is about the weather. The kindergarteners vote on whether thunderstorms are fun or scary, and practice counting their votes with tally marks. There is great debate over this topic, and the smiles are so bright that we don’t even miss the sun today.
No matter what happened in school the previous day, or at home that morning, children should arrive at school knowing that they will be greeted, heard and welcomed into their classroom community. Morning Meeting is the place where teachers set the tone for the school day and create those all-important bonds with their students, and the students with each other.
Morning Meeting is an integral part of Responsive Classroom, an approach to teaching that emphasizes the role of social and emotional learning alongside academic studies. The guiding principles of Responsive Classroom foster a child-centered classroom where children confidently care for each other and the environment - a ripe environment for deep learning to take place.
Can you imagine if your morning started with someone greeting you warmly, asking you to share something about yourself, and inviting you to play a game before you got down to the business of your day? It is these kinds of connections that help children develop values of respect, responsibility, and compassion - values that are at the core of what we believe as educators.
Prospective families can learn more about Morning Meeting and other facets of social-emotional learning at Shorecrest at one of our fall Admissions Events.