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Don Jennings
[email protected]
Don Jennings ([email protected])

Creating Community and Changing From Within

CONVENER(S): Susan Smith, Amy Seibert, Wanda Rothrock

PARTICIPANTS: Patricia OKeefe, Probha Williams, Najma Shah, Lori Byrne, Jeff Weesner, Wanda Rothrock, Stacy Gomuk, Kathy Davidson, Kathy Roeman, Amy Seibert, Susan Smith


Things to Ponder: Relationship building is vital - 3 levels 1. Ourselves and other adults 2. Ourselves and children 3. Children with children

We need to remember - It is a process, not a product. We want normalization - We must start with ourselves

The classroom culture and community come from the staff and administration - Modeling is so important - They learn by watching us - They can sense if we are anxious or angry

Societal changes - fear-based

 Audiotape - John Chatham-McNichols? - Roving Packs of 5 year-olds

Ideas For the Classroom - Class Meetings - Classroom Learning System (CLS) - there is a website for it if you look it up - can also go through pinellas county school website (www.pinellas.k12.fl.us) - (lots of good ideas for community building and getting kids to take ownership of learning and classroom) - Help teach the children from being egocentric (help them cultivate their inner guide)

     -- Montessori cosmic education - humbling
     -- Use think alouds to model your thoughts (also while apologizing or giving thanks or     
         reflecting on day in general)  MODEL
- Adults may have to take the place of older models at times - Use a peace rose/peace table/or peace keepers - positive framing - tell them what you want - catch them being good - specific ideas - bulletin board with fish explaining something nice they did - Helping Others Tree (both children decorate a tree with animals, flowers when one does something nice - READ NURTURING THE SPIRIT by Aline Wolfe - also in this book is the Gandhi quote spoken about - I offer you peace, I offer you love, I offer you friendship. I hear your cry, I see your beauty, I feel your pain. My wisdom flows from my spirit within. I salute that spirit in you. Let us work together in peace.) - The Golden Rule (also religious teaching of any sort - if possible) - Observer's chair - one person watches and discusses things at circle that they noticed about the group or individuals - positive only Changing Ourselves/Self?-Awareness - FAITH, FAITH, FAITH - Stay Calm - Reflect - Show thanks and appreciation and RESPECT to all - apologize when needed! - Come through the door with a clean slate (kids know when we're upset) - Tell how helping others makes us feel good - and ask if it felt good when they did something nice - to nature or people - Meditations - Motivating Poems - Learn from the Children - Observe - Self-respect must come first

We found that these two areas really intertwined, yet that we must start with ourselves! We had fun and learned through some great discussion. Thank you all for participating! You are wonderful teachers (even as parents!)

Comments on above:

- Ideas For the Classroom - Class Meetings We've had a lot of success with AS Neill's democratic meetings as modeled at his Summerhill School. Equal voting rights for all members, including staff, and consensus required on matters of interpersonal resolution.

- Come through the door with a clean slate (kids know when we're upset) Boy, how I try with this one! I'm only human, though. They know when I'm upset, yes, but also when I'm trying to act like I'm not. <chuckle> It works well when I share with them, in an appropriate fashion. Cements the relationship too, in my opinion. Can't help but draw folks closer when they share their challenges as well as their successes.

This wiki thing is wild. :-)

Don Jennings ([email protected])

Topsfield, MA USA

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Last edited February 15, 2003 9:15 am USA Pacific Time (diff)