The beginning of the year is a great time for getting to know each other. Children will feel comfortable and friendly towards each other in a welcoming classroom environment that values and respects individuals; and in which appreciation for our diversity, as well as our commonality, is nurtured.
When children feel safe to be who they are, they are more accepting of others.
While it is important to establish a welcoming environment at the beginning of the school year, it is equally important to maintain the supportive environment throughout the year. It is not something we do to pretty the room and then forget about it. It is a part of who we are, and comes from a firm belief in the value of each individual, of community, of humanity, and of our world.
“Every day all over Australia, children are laughing and crying, playing and learning, eating and sleeping. They may not look the same or speak the same language, but inside, they are just like you. This story weaves its way across cultures and generations, celebrating the bond that unites us all.”
Bette A. Stevens supports this notion in her blog post Let there be Peace on Earth and Let it Begin with Me. She suggests these strategies for spreading peace throughout the world:
- Listen to others
- Get to know them (That means spending time with them)
- Let them get to know us (talk)
- Respect differences
- Look for commonalities
- Nurture relationships
- Offer and extend a helping hand
- Encourage others
- Enlist the help of others
- Give input and feedback
- Keep the conversation going
Our classrooms are a great place to start the peace movement.
Many readilearn resources are designed to welcome children to school on the first day. Resources include a Welcome letter, Welcome sign, Who is here chart, Desk names, Name badges, Name cards, and an About me worksheet, all with a Busy Bee theme. While these resources, and the free teaching ideas Getting ready for the first day with Busy Bee resources, are all available individually, I have now collected them in one zip folder for easy download Busy Bee- Welcome resources for Day one.
These, and other resources, are also useful in getting to know each other:
Learning about family traditions and celebrations – a unit of work for early childhood – gathers information about the families of children in the class
Yes or No class surveys help children begin to see ways in which they are alike and in which they differ.
These two new readilearn resources coming soon are also designed to help children get to know each other:
Me and my friends
Getting to know you surveys
I hope you and your children enjoy using these resources. I’ll see you next week with some suggestions for counting the first 100 days of school. In the meantime, enjoy the weekend.
Thank you for reading.
Happy teaching and learning,
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