We eagerly welcomed our lower elementary students back to school and I’m sure you parents shared in our excitement. However, the return of students to physical school this academic year will be very different; allowing for COVID-19 prevention strategies and transitioning back to “the new normal.” So many have adapted to new routines and virtual learning in the past two years that returning to the classroom may prove more challenging than initially thought.
Creating a sense of belonging in school is important in students’ motivation; fostering positive attitudes toward learning and their ability to do well in school. Engaging students in matters that involve them helps ensure buy-in and commitment. The Grade 5s got some extra outdoor time where we used Thumballs (a ball with questions on it) to examine what strengths they bring to the classroom.
They then took to creating a chart that captures what they like about their class, what they need to make the class a comfortable space and what are things they do that help create a safe learning environment. Some of their responses were:
“I love my class because I have amazing teachers and my best friend too. My class is also funny and silly most of the time, so it’s nice.”
“I try to make people feel not embarrassed or afraid. I also try to include everyone.”
“I think before I act and I listen to others too.”
“I can make others comfortable in a class by making sure others know what to do and are ok.”
“I help my classmates and try to be positive so that I know they feel safe like I do.”
“Children have real understanding only of that which they invent themselves.” ~ Jean Piaget
Elementary/ Middle School Counselor