I will share here today a very significant routine that I have learned with Fátima Freire Dowbor, our Pedagogic Supervisor at school.
Every class when children arrive at school we have circle time in which we talk about new happenings in our lives. By the end of the class we also have circle time and talk about the things we did, what we liked, and what we would do in the next classes. Until now, there’s nothing new.
The one thing we do, especially in the end of class, is remembering the students that were absent. We make them present in their absence by saying what we think they would have liked, imagining what they would have said and by sharing what we value about them. Only kind thoughts and remarks are allowed. By doing this we teach children to pay attention to the positive characteristics of other children, reflect about their postures, enjoy being with and praising others. As a result, the group gets stronger, child enjoy more the company of peers and we all celebrate when the group is complete.
One day during this remembering circle, Gabriel, who was six at that time, had an insight and realized that we usually talked about him when he didn’t come to class. He didn’t take more than a second to ask the class what was usually said about him. After the class shared with him what was appreciated, another student also called Gabriel turned to all the class and surprisingly said: We do not need people to be absent to say that we like them. And then he turned to each one of the 5 peers and to me telling how he enjoyed being with us. Wow!
Needless to say, I went back to the teachers’ room feeling as if I was flying.
Remembering and valuing others is so important!
This remembering circle can be done with people of all ages.
Give it a try and tell me how it worked.