After visiting a few independent schools earlier this year, I returned to The Center eager to try some of what I had observed and learned. One such idea was an EC Assembly, where the children would gather once a month and listen to stories read by the Head of School. The aspect that resnonated the most with me was that of coming together and having a group experience. I also liked the idea of reading a story as a part of the assembly but wanted to make this activity more meaningful and relevant to us. As I reflected, I remembered that at the Canadian School in Guadalajara, Mexico the children gathered in assembly to highlight their core values. This information I had learned when we hosted a character education workshop by Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education in November. Now I was charged with a twofold purpose for the assemblies: coming together and focusing on our core values. Being that organizing these events and selecting the content of each assemby could be a time-consuming task I enlisted the help of members of the EC Mindfulness Cohort. They had been already working on gathering materials and activities for the teachers related to mindfulness practice that I believed could easily be adjusted to align with our core values' focus. Throught this collaboration, we created an assembly template that was predictable and consistent but flexible enough to keep the events novel for the children. We decided to begin each assembly by singing Breathing In Breathing Out by Thich Nhat Hanh and end with a Goodbye Apron activity borrowed from the Conscious Discipline Approach by Dr. Becky Bailey. The rest of the time would be filled with short group activities such as stories, songs, skits, and movement games. We have had two successful assemblies thus far and look forward to the rest. I envision making changes as we go along and further empowering the teachers through their participation in the process.
I invite all EC parents to visit their child's class website to see photos from the assemblies and a video created specifically for our Inclusion-themed gathering.
Recommended Books Related to our Core Values: Caring, Incusion, Responsibility, and Honesty
The Monster Who Lost His Mean by Tiffany Strelitz Haber.
Everyone knows that the M in “monster” stands for MEAN. But what happens when a monster can’t be mean any more? Is he still a monster at all? One young monster's attempts to live up to his name go hilariously awry as he discovers—with a little help from new friends—that it's not what you're called but who you are that counts.
It's OKay to Be Different by Todd Parr
It's Okay to Be Different cleverly delivers the important messages of acceptance, understanding, and confidence in an accessible, child-friendly format featuring Todd Parr's trademark bold, bright colors and silly scenes. Targeted to young children first beginning to read, this book will inspire kids to celebrate their individuality through acceptance of others and self-confidence.
Along with the four other bestselling Todd Parr picture books debuting in paperback this season, It's Okay to be Different is designed to encourage early literacy, enhance emotional development, celebrate multiculturalism, and promote character growth.
We All Sing with the Same Voice by J. Philip Miller
The familiar words to this joyful song combine with vibrant illustrations to celebrate the idea that no matter where children live, what they look like, or what they do, they're all the same where it counts -- at heart.
"We All Sing with the Same Voice" was aired and continues to be seen on Sesame Street, the celebrated educational children's television show produced by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization. Paul Meisel is the illustrator of many popular books for children, including how to talk to your cat by Jean Craighead George.
One by Kathryn Otoshi
Blue is a quiet color. Red’s a hothead who likes to pick on Blue. Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple don’t like what they see, but what can they do? When no one speaks up, things get out of hand — until One comes along and shows all the colors how to stand up, stand together, and count. As budding young readers learn about numbers, counting, and primary and secondary colors, they also learn about accepting each other's differences and how it sometimes just takes one voice to make everyone count.
What If? by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
In this spare and deceptively simple book, Laura Vaccaro Seeger shows us the same story with three different outcomes, each highlighting the possibility in possibilities.Youngest children will enjoy this visit to the beach and the chance to guess what happens when different choices are made.
Say Hello by Jack Foreman
A lone dog comes upon a group of kids playing ball and with leaping ease, joins the game. They’re all having so much fun, they don’t see a sad little boy standing off by himself. Who will spy the boy and invite him to play? With arresting images by a master illustrator and a simple, touching text by his son, SAY HELLO evokes the joy and relief of finding a new friend just when it’s needed the most.
Fill a Bucket: A Guide to Daily Happiness for the Young Child by Carol McCloud
This is a version of Have You Filled a Bucket Today? for younger children. The concept of bucket filling is an effective metaphor for encouraging kind and considerate behavior as well as teaching the benefits of positive relationships to children.
I See Kindness Everywhere by Shelley Frost
Where do you see kindness? No matter who we are or where we come from, when we take a moment to look around, we can see kindness everywhere. With an engaging message and vibrant illustrations, this little book can help children learn how to notice and appreciate everyday blessings. Ages 2 and up. This book was inspired by an Eastern concept of kindness that can help people of all ages notice and appreciate the kindness of others. The concept is this: any action that benefits you -- large or small, intentional or even unintentional -- is a kindness given to you. One night at dinner, author-illustrator Shelley Frost heard her two-year-old daughter exclaim, "Thank you, tomato workers! Thank you, lentil bean workers!" Shelley then realized that even young children could grasp this concept of kindness . . . and in the process, learn the language of gratitude and respect for others. The author will donate a portion of her book-sale proceeds to community charities. For more gifts that nurture gratitude and kindness, and to vote on which charities will receive the author's donations, visit http://www.EnlightenedArts.com.