The organization of the school into communities with their respective meetings plays an important role in our overall behavior policy. The communities and meetings evolve as children mature through the school.
We give the youngest children in the school safety and security. They have circle time, guided by an adult, in which they learn to take turns speaking and listening. They may be encouraged to have ideas about turn-taking with games and equipment. Teachers are trained not to provide an automatic answer when a child says, “That’s not fair!”
At Elementary level children gather for a short morning meeting every day. They are encouraged to say if they have any problems and to make proposals. Adults are trained not to force their own ideas onto the children in these sessions, but to allow the children to express their own opinions. Children will learn:
- To listen when someone else is talking
- Not to interrupt- no cross-talking
- To make simple proposals
- To vote by raising their hands
- To accept differences
There is a rota of simple housekeeping tasks that children can propose themselves for: watering the plants, organizing the paints, ordering the bookshelf etc. They will experience the farm where they will have to learn about the need to take turns and share. There may be some conflict and this will be addressed in the next meeting through compassionate dialogue.
As they move up, they will be able to take on more complex jobs and their teachers will be sensitive to the need to provide opportunities for them to do so.