Posted on May 13, 2017
2nd semester summary (2016-2017)
Character Education -- Grade 5
Nurturing and guiding our children in their emotion and spiritual growth is the emphasis of our Character Education program. The basic goodness that is inherent within each person is nurtured in a safe and loving environment. Within this environment, individual questions, feelings, and ideas are encouraged and honored. Immersion in a variety of rich learning experiences appropriate for each age group are offered to allow our children opportunities for exploring, developing, and reflecting on their understanding of the values of love and respect for self, others, and the environment.
Some of these experiences include going on field trips, listening to guest speakers, reading a variety of stories from World Literature, participating in chapel services, doing role play, journal writing, puppet skits, sharing feelings, and numerous service projects within our school and community. Our children are encouraged to explore their understanding of goodness and share this through service with others. Our Peace Education program promotes an interactive and experiential approach to learning conflict resolution and peer mediation skills, and allows time for personal reflection on how to foster peaceful relationships with others.
Each class begins with "Golden Moment," a brief period of quiet to calm our mind and relax our body. This is followed by "Ohana (family) Circle," a time for sharing our feelings. We use a "talking piece," such as a shell, to take turns sharing and listening to each other's feelings and thoughts in a special way. This allows every child a chance to express what is in his/her heart and also practice active listening when others are speaking.
In Grade 5 in the second semester, we continue our integrated approach of character development with art to explore a personal meaning of peace. We examined the lives of community leaders to learn how they shared their talents and gifts to help others and contribute to their communities. Each student chose a historical figure to research, looking out for the character traits they possessed to accomplish their achievements. By exploring and and seeing how others use their gifts to help, the students began to brainstorm their own unique qualities and things they are grateful for. To help further develop their sense of gratitude, they created gratitude artworks that gave them a chance to think about and articulate at least 25 things they are grateful for. They then translated their ideas into image, using art as an expression of their feelings. These lessons, activities, and continued practice of meditation were integrated into creating peace poems that reflected our own meaning of peace. The students' poems will be added to an online collection of poems called the International Peace Poem Project.
Our study of peace was enriched by having students from our high school peer mediation program share a thought-provoking workshop, "The Power of Words." Its focus was on how our words, spoken and written, affect others. Their activities helped us understand what it means to "cross the line" from harmless to harmful communication and how to find solutions when faced with hurtful communication. Students from our high school Amnesty International group, one of the many service clubs on campus, shared their ideas for world peace. Amnesty International is a worldwide movement of people who advocate for human rights for all. The high school students encouraged us to be aware of world issues on human rights and find ways to actively work toward world peace. Peace Team continued to provide opportunities to be of service and practice peace by interacting with the younger children at the play structure and ball field, and also at the preschool and kindergarten classrooms during lunch recess.