We have begun a new school year! I’m so thrilled to enter year 3 at my school. There are fewer unknowns and more opportunities to grow our community. This year, we are implementing a twice monthly Community Time. We will gather as a full middle school and engage in time with one another. What that time looks like is still evolutionary but every time will include a message our character value of the month (also new) and a reflection for our kids.
Our first CTA focused on kindness. Following our community summer read of R.J. Palacio’s Wonder, we all have a common story understanding of kindness. For our opening CTA, I chose to do a reader’s theatre of rulers of the playground by Joseph Kuefler. We don’t have recess in our middle school (:-() or a playground on the 6-12 campus BUT we can draw so many lessons from this simple children’s story of power and bossiness. We used the reflection to wonder about times we had chosen to be a King Jonah or Queen Lennox in our lives (declare ourselves leader but treating everyone poorly) or whether we’d been ruled by one.
This is such an important reminder as we begin anew with the routines of school, the locker halls, the carpools, the break time between classes. How are we using these unstructured times (like the metaphorical playground) to build up kindness and friendship? To lead with compassion, empathy, and respect? These are tumultuous times both in our world and just as an average middle school life–it is essential that we emphasize the good, the kind, the strong, the positive, in any way we can. And it starts on the “playground.”