In the Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary, and Middle School programs, students have been discussing their views on social justice and injustice. The Village School was honored to have one of the grandparents of a Village School student visit and discuss her experience as a hidden child. The survivor discussed what it was like through her young eyes and then took time to answer questions posed by the audience such as “Was there a risk in hiding?”, “What about your parents?”, “What was your fondest memory?”. All of these questions provided a solid foundation for the speaker to discuss her memories. She stated that the women who had brought her to the farmhouse in which she was hidden for 1 year had offered sugar and flour in exchange for her doll. She held onto this doll to keep her safe. She also brought artifacts which the students were able to pass around. It was an honor to have her present and speak to the students about her experience.
End of the Year Celebration
Each year the elementary students partake in an “end of the year” celebration with the rest of the school in the Project Room. This celebration includes Kindergarten to 8th year students. Montessori three year periods teach the students how to be the leaders and provide lessons and assistance to those whom are younger. The older students are seen as the role models for their younger peers. In this instance, the middle school students assisted the younger levels by preparing the room, hosting and cooking and serving the food. The tables are set up so that the Kindergarteners can enjoy their meal and dessert followed by educational activities held within the Project Room. Lower and Upper Elementary students visited as well and took their plates back to enjoy in their classrooms. Thank you Middle School!
Each year our students in Primary through Middle School participate in a community service project of their choice. Through various lessons in the classroom, students are aware of the importance of implementing these Grace and Courtesy practices in order to make various connections with the outside world. This year the Primary level choose CASA through Passaic County. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is an organization of people from the court and state which provides resources to less fortunate children. The CASA boxes teach students what it means to be less fortunate and the value of philanthropic ideas. The Primary level classes made gift tags and decorative boxes from which families can purchase items for the child. All unwrapped items with gift tags were brought into school. It is a great way to promote discussion at the primary level about giving and providing comfort to those less fortunate than ourselves. Primary classes were privileged to have Gina Cetta, the CASA Program Director, come and discuss with the children the benefits and importance of giving during the holiday season. Thank you, Gina!
Upper Elementary students were assigned to teams where they had to work on different challenges that build on each other and focus on team building. The hula hut building activity has many components. It was primarily a team-building activity meant to guide the children who have been working on cooperation and communication since the beginning of the year. This activity helps promote body awareness and control (how fast/slow can you crawl through hoop, how much slower do you have to go when blindfolded- relying on listening skills as friends cue you through the hoop). It also has a variety of math components including problem solving (size of the hoops matter to stability of hut), which size should be the base/top? Each level/challenge gets more difficult and requires more thought into how to complete the level. At the end of every challenge the following group must restart/rebuild. They were given 6 hoops and had to use all hoops with the following variations of goals:
- build one hut
- build one hut that two people can crawl through (if your hut breaks, you must restart and rebuild).
- build one hut and send two people through blindfolded guided only by verbal cues from teammates.
- repeat and send 1-2 team members through on their backs
- double decker build
- double decker build where each team member must go through on both their belly and repeat on back
All the different challenges require teamwork, trust, and strategy. The triple decker build happened at the very end of one class. Teams combined their resources as they tried to build the triple decker structure and keep it standing as they lined up.
A successful triple decker Hula Hut built by 211