This has been a difficult year for all of us. Here at Kieve Wavus Education, it’s been too quiet without the usual roar from kids running around these campuses. We are ready for normal to return and we are so grateful to have a team that has totally dedicated themselves to finding new and creative ways to fulfill our mission.
This May, with guidance from KWE’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Task Force, we’ll be launching Teaching Kindness and Respect, a permanent hub on our website for tools and resources to support the social-emotional health of our community and for all those who want to join us in spreading the core of our mission- that everyone deserves to be treated with Kindness and Respect.
Through the pandemic, we’ve relied on our Educators to uphold this golden rule in the Maine school communities we serve and the following are their reflections and go-to resources for this work:
To foster a culture of kindness and respect in the school communities we serve, we’re committed to intervening in moments of prejudice, racism, and hate. We use our experiential approach to social-emotional learning curriculum and our training as The Leadership School Educators to model KWE’s message for our students.
These conversations are hard. The events of this past year, including the horrible violence over the past two weeks, have challenged all of us to step up and speak out, even when it feels easier to stay silent. The activities shared below are tools to create a safe space for discussion and to promote qualities necessary for our students to better appreciate the differences that make each of them unique. These activities, one virtual and one in-person, are tools that can be used or adapted to spark conversations increasing social awareness while highlighting the value of diverse perspectives:
In-Person – Living Nametags
Virtual – Four Corners
We also know that these conversations will often take place outside the walls of our classrooms. As educators, we find ourselves in a unique position to be the force for positive change in our schools- at recess, between classes, in the halls, and on the sports fields. It’s our responsibility to set the tone in every space where we interact with our kids.
When we see racism, prejudice, or ignorance we step in and speak up. For some TLS Educators, intervening means partnering with a school administrator or counselor, for others it means separating the student from the group to address the behavior in the moment, and sometimes it is finding that student a day or a week later after emotions have settled to ensure real learning can occur.
Whatever the follow-up, the discussion is always about helping kids learn so they can improve. We highlight the importance of empathy, how our actions affect others, and the fact different experiences and perspectives make communities stronger. Whether forming a Civil Rights Team or leading the activities we recommended above, we work with our school leaders to ensure we can be effective role models who empower our kids to be better each day.
We are consistently amazed by our students’ resilience and the effect that we as TLS Educators can have as positive role models in our schools. We hope these shared experiences and resources can help you bring some of the magic of Kieve, Wavus, and TLS to your lives away from Lake Damariscotta, and that all of us can continue to speak up against any hatred that divides us.
TLS Educators, ’20-’21