“It is not what you do for your children but what you have taught them to do for themselves that will make them successful human beings.” - Ann Landers
At the beginning of every school year, Ms. Skor and our school counselor (welcome Courtenay Labson!) guide a process for our elementary students to help draw up an ‘’Elementary Charter” together. The charter is an embodiment of the students’ ideas of what a fair set of rules might be, how the children hope to feel while at school, and what they can do to help those around them. Every year, we proudly display the document via a collaborative art project that resides on the bulletin board in the main lobby. By doing this, the charter is effectively shared with the other level teachers, administrators, students, parents, and visitors as they enter the building.
The adult community eagerly looks forward to what the elementary students have come up with through this process—as well as what creative form it will take due to Ms. Skor’s inspiring direction (we have had flowers, pizza, animals, and more over the years). The teachers post copies in the classrooms, Mr. Clark posts a copy near his desk, and, I pin one beside the door to my office for all to see. The high visibility throughout the building is to remind the Aidan community of our elementary students’ vision of a “more perfect union.”
This year’s Elementary Charter will be no exception, as it almost always succinctly encapsulates the core values binding our community together as a warm, loving, and supportive environment in which children can both thrive and truly be themselves. Even if the classes have to meet separately due to COVID, the message will almost undoubtedly be the same. It often emphasizes kindness and respect (“Be respectful and nice to everyone.”), our most fundamental expectation of how we will treat one another; it encourages openness and empathy (“Listen to teachers and to each other.”), the cornerstones of tolerance and embracing diversity; it promotes a spirit of unity, harmony, and common purpose. The charter process often inspires inclusivity, a desire for equity and inclusion, and a sentiment of greater purpose. In short, this beautifully simple document represents all that is best in our community and our approach to education.
What more can one ask of any school community than that the pure and creative imaginations of the children themselves direct the aspirations of all? If we adults can take our cue from the children, this will be an incredible year. Please be sure to check in about our Elementary Charter process at the end of the first Friday of school. I know your child will have so much to share.
All the best,