Junior students in Year 5 are more articulate. The teachers in charge of this year will set up meetings once a week where all children can do two things:
- Bring someone up
- Propose a law
Bringing someone up means calling someone to the meeting because they have broken a law or behaved badly. For example, John can bring up Mary because she did not clean up after herself. The community must decide what to do. It is important for the adults not to lead this discussion. The children may offer a warning, propose a fine or do nothing. Adults watch to make sure that the core values of compassion, equality and dialogue are observed.
Proposing a law means thinking about a need and acting upon it. For example, Reza might propose that there is a limit to how long people are allowed to be on the internet. There will be some discussion, some proposals and a vote.
The adults may chair the meetings and act as secretary, but by the end of the year children will be able to take on these roles. Adults may intervene if they see that the meeting is having difficulty with persistent and troublesome behavior.
The Clubhouse is a larger community than Year 5 since it includes all of Years 6+7. That is 88 students. There will be one communal meeting a week and one class meeting a week. The meetings will last an hour or less.
Having learned about chairing meetings and being secretary in Year 5, they will be ready to take control of their own meetings and community.
Children at this age are “veteran kids”. Many are socially confident and they are well able to organize activities and events. They will still bring people up and propose laws, but they will also elect committees to deal with issues that they do not want to deal with in the meetings.
For example, there is a festival in three weeks and the community wants to have a celebration. They decide that they want to organize games. They decide to elect a committee to deal with this. The meeting will decide how many people are on the committee and someone will be chosen to invite volunteers. This is called “taking the book around”. Say Tom is elected. He has a list of everyone in the community and asks them if they want to be on the Games Committee. He then writes a list of all the volunteers and goes back around the community taking their votes. The meeting has said there will be seven people on the committee, so everyone gets seven votes. When the votes are tallied seven people are elected and there are three reserves in case someone drops out.
Children this age are imaginative, creative and competent. They will bring their own ideas to every aspect of the running of their community. They are free to change the running of the community so long as they do not violate the core principles of the school.