Once a week we have an all-school meeting. It is a special time for the entire school body to be together to celebrate birthdays, learn a lesson, hear a story, and learn from other classes. Each of the classes takes turns leading two all-school meetings a year. This week the Preschool 4s class shared what they had learned about Kandinsky, a Russian painter famous for his abstract paintings. Each child stood up, shared an interesting fact, and showed a piece of art they had created for their class auction project (trust me, you’ll want this beautiful art for your own home!). I could not have prouder of this group of four year-olds who courageously spoke to the entire student body. I also could not have been prouder of the audience, who listened respectively and supported their young friends’ first public speaking experience.
We recite the Pledge of Allegiance and end the meeting with our School Pledge – “I will work hard, I will be kind, I will be mindful.” Once a month, we acknowledge students who have embodied the spirit of the School Pledge. These students come to the front of the group and get a “high-five” in celebration of their accomplishment. We give them a round of applause. Mostly these children are smiling, some look embarrassed, but they are all proud…as are we!
The day after one particular meeting where we recognized students with “high-fives”, a student brought me a hand-written note that said, “Thank you for giving me a high five”. It now hangs, framed, on my office wall, as a reminder about how crucial encouragement and praise are, and how meaningful to the children. We know parenting is hard, but so is being a child. Encouragement and praise are welcomed at any age!