Friday, September 13, 2013

Peace Classes, Peace Club, and Recess Peace Team

This week we continued our Peace Classes, and each student at Lafayette now has been assigned a kindness pal. Their kindness pal is someone we randomly assigned, and during Peace class the pals sat together, got to know one another better, and thought about ways they can show kindness to each other during the week. Each teacher has a list of the class kindness pals, so if your child doesn't remember who it is you can always ask the teacher. Encourage your child to remember to do something kind for their pal next week. It can be an act as simple as pushing in a chair for someone, or as involved as making them cookies (which someone actually did this week!) These pals will change monthly for PK, K, and 1st grades and weekly for 2nd through 5th grades.

During recess, we have Peace Club on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Kids have to get a pass from their teacher and then can head down to the LAP room (across from the gym) for the entire 12-1 block of time. We eat lunch together and then play games, build, draw, bead, or do a variety of other cooperative activities. It's a great way to get to know kids in a smaller, more controlled environment than the noisy chaos of the playground. And speaking of the playground, this week we also started our Recess Peace Team activities on Tuesdays and Thursdays. On these (really hot) days we held relay races on the field, and any kid who wanted to join in was able to do so. I walked around the field gathering kids who didn't seem to be playing with anyone, and even if they didn't want to race they came along for our cheering section. During each of the three 20-minute recess periods we had at least 25 kids racing and cheering, which was wonderful to witness. Between Peace Club and Recess Peace Team, we are able to provide alternative recess activities to over 250 kids each week! If your child is having any difficulties navigating recess, please encourage him or her to join in these activities; there's always room for a few more. Have a great weekend!
Magna-tiles at Peace Club

Monday, September 9, 2013

Two Exciting Events

Last week we hosted three "new student lunch bunches" for all our new friends at Lafayette (grades 1-5). Taking the time to sit down and get to know our new students is always a fun activity, and this group was no exception. We have approximately 40 new students this year, from as close as Oyster-Adams elementary school here in DC and as far away as Singapore. We hope that they each feel welcomed and happy to be at  Lafayette. Parents of Lafayette old-timers, please remind your children to reach out to these new students in any way they can, and reach out to their parents, too. New parents, please feel free to contact us if your child is having any trouble acclimating to his/her new school; we are here to help!

The second exciting event will get started this week. Our "Recess Peace Team" (RPT for short) will soon kick off with structured activities on the field and blacktop for students in grades 1-3. We will be training a selected group of 5th grade students, who will then be on the playgrounds on Tuesdays and Thursdays to provide games and activities for kids who want to join in. Our goals for RPT are to teach leadership skills to older kids, help include younger kids into recess activities who may otherwise not have anyone to play with, and to minimize conflicts that often arise on the playground during free play. If you have any feedback on this program as it develops, feel free to share it!