Caring School Community Program
Our school is in year 3 of implementation of the Caring School Community program. It is a research based K-6 program that builds classroom and schoolwide community while developing students’ social and emotional (SEL) skills and competencies. It provides specific lessons and activities that integrate community building efforts across the school day and throughout the school year. The program consists with of four components designed to work together to build community in the classroom and school: Class Meeting lessons, a cross-age Buddies program, the Homeside Activities and the Schoolwide Community Building Activities. These components help students develop respect for each other and take ownership for their learning and behavior.
In year 1 of implementation, staff and students were introduced, implemented and became comfortable with Class meetings. In year 2, Westmount staff and students continued to implement Class Meetings and began the cross age Buddies program. This year as the year progresses, staff and students will be introduced to the Homeside Activities and Schoolwide Community Building Activities. Like most social-emotional and community building programs, success is achieved when the program is implemented over time.
Class meetings are at the core of the CSC program. They offer teachers and students a forum for getting to know one another, discussing issues, identifying and solving problems and making deicsions that affect classroom climate. Meetings are conducted in a circle, with a specific set of rules that govern the discussion. The teacher’s role is to create an environment in which the student’s learning, opinions, and concerns are taken seriously. The student’s role is to participate as valued and influential contributors to the classroom community.
Cross Age Buddies
Each class is buddied up with another class. It is recommended that there be an approximate separation of 2-3 years between grades paired together. Activities are designed to build relationships in the school by pairing older and younger students for joint activities. The book that accompanies the CSC program describes how to implement a Buddies program. It provides activities that help buddies get to know one another, explore academic content in Language Arts, Math, Science, Social Studies, Health, Art, Music, and Phys. Ed, and reflect on their experiences.
The program includes a book of Homeside Activities per grade level that engage students and family members in conversation and strengthen the relationship between home and school. Each activity should be introduced in the classroom, continued at home and concluded in the classroom with group interaction and sharing. The K-3 activities are addressed to an older individual at home who directs the conversation. The 4-6 activities addressed to the student and are student directed. These activities typically take 15-20 minutes to complete and are opportunities for families to share experiences and opinions related to academic and social themes important to the life of most classrooms.
Schoolwide Community Building Activities
The Schoolwide Community Building Activities is a collection of activities that build relationships emphasizing inclusion and participation, cooperation, helping others, taking responsibility, appreciating differences, and reflection. They link the students, parents, teachers, and other adults in the school; help foster new school traditions and promote helpfulness, inclusiveness and responsibility.
If you would like more information on Caring Schools Community, please click on the link below.