February 12, 2020 | Abby Liu
In November, Emily Sytsma (Early Childhood Director) and Melissa McCallihan (Fourth and Fifth Grade Teacher) presented a workshop called Affirmations, Benedictions, and Other Words to Grow By. The workshop took place at the Columbia University Teachers College conference, The Next Wave in K-12 Education: Spiritual Core of the Whole Child. The room was packed with educators from around the country who wanted to learn how teachers at MSS use honoring words to affirm the goodness that each child brings to the school community.
Ms. Sytsma and Ms. McCallihan shared how the words in our environment—embedded and spoken in our physical spaces, our seasonal rituals, and our annual traditions—support growth in children and serve to develop habits of the heart and to remind them of who they really are.
They offered practical ideas that can be implemented at other schools:
These rituals provide a touch point that teachers and students can return to as the year progresses. They speak and display words that children can hold as they work through the year. These rituals nurture connection. Help students to live lives of meaning and purpose in a community where they are known and loved.