The Classroom and School Community

When you develop community in the classroom, you provide your students with a safe, secure environment where they can freely learn more about themselves and grow in their knowledge and skills. As their teacher, you model caring, acceptance, and support for everyone in the classroom. Through listening to the language of acceptance and modeling inclusion, you show children how to positively function within their community.

In my book “Relationships Make the Difference” I talk about how to use the Moral Intelligences (Michele Borba, 2001) to develop acceptance and inclusion with our students. It opens many doors of opportunity when you help your students develop and use respect, kindness, empathy, fairness, self-control, tolerance, and conscience with themselves, their peers and community.

I worked in a school that decided their school goal would be to develop these intelligences as they connected us to the moral fiber of our school community. Parents, students and staff believed these were crucial intelligences and encouraged their use on a daily basis; we were all using the same language and students got to practice daily in class, at recess and at home with their families. Students began to understand their personal strengths and learned how to share these and better support others. Some children became leaders because their strengths were knowing how to support and help others; others benefited from this extra support and learned more. There was a positive carry over to their daily learning and students felt part of a caring community were their needs and talents mattered.

Children demonstrate social responsibility when they learn to respect and care for others. Instead of only thinking about themselves, students realize that everyone needs to be treated with respect and kindness; we need to walk in other people’s shoes to understand how they feel and then tolerate their differences; this belief should be apparent in our decisions.

By adding moral intelligences to student academic learning we are providing the opportunity to develop their social and emotional skills too. Children learn at a deeper level and continue to develop these skills into their adult lives.

Patricia Trottier, an experienced educator, loves working with and writing about the daily joys and challenges of children and adults.

We are Born to Love

At this time of year I am constantly reminded that love and goodness fills everyone’s hearts the moment we are first born. For most, this loving of others continues for the rest of our lives.

I was inspired to read on a teacher’s whiteboard that she was collecting students’ acts of kindness in their community; children were encouraged to share their talents and bring joy to others. This was their personal gift to their community.

I loved reading a Christmas flash news story how two sisters decided to collect dresses for other girls who didn’t have a special dress to admire and wear. In a second story students were collecting backpacks filled with school supplies for new immigrants to our country. In the inner city, people were taking time to share their extra restaurant and store foods with the homeless. These stories bring joy to our hearts and reminds everyone to share.

Little store fronts were set up for families to come and shop for their loved ones and then have their gifts specially wrapped. The joy on everyone’s faces as they were leaving and thinking, “Where am I going to hide these treasure before Christmas?” Our community sets up so many ways for people to give to each other. Last October a whole town came together to plan Christmas in October for a young boy who would not live to see his next Christmas.

Christmas is not the only celebration at this time of year. People celebrate other special days and weeks and share their unique practices and how to give to others from their hearts. Congregations open their doors to their larger communities so everyone can experience the excitement they feel in their places of worship, and taste and share their cultural treats and customs.

We are so lucky to live in this wonderful country, CANADA, where we daily experience the freedoms of democracy; all people are equal and treated with respect.

This is a perfect time of year to remember we are part of a loving race, Mankind, and to keep that thought all year long.

Patricia Trottier, an experienced educator, loves working with and writing about the daily joys and challenges of children and adults.

Networking at CANSCAIP Prairie Horizons 2015

Writers, illustrators and performers from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario gathered at St. Michael’s Retreat overlooking the majestic Q’Appelle River Valley. Participants were able to

Connect with nature by being

Mesmerized by traffic rolling in and out of the valley.

Observing the changing colour palette as the sun moved across the sky.

Carefully juggling our foot steps as the landscape changed from flat, to raised and then lowered as you walk into the valley ( this takes lots of concentration coming from the flat prairies)

Stealthily walking the labyrinth with a tea light pressed into our palms.

Recording a landscape bursting with towering trees, rolling hills, flowers and wildlife in the mind’s eye and storing for future writing.

Networking with writers, illustrators and performers by

Warmly being asked about your art and hearing enthusiasm and support for your work.

Generously giving and receiving suggestions of who might be interested in your work.

Sharing challenges and getting encouragement to keep on trying

Making life-long friendships

Feeling humbled in the presence of so much talent and genius.

Getting tons of perspectives.

Travelling back home with seeds of inspiration and a flowering imagination.

Patricia Trottier, an experienced educator, loves working with and writing about the daily joys and challenges of children and adults.
%d bloggers like this: