At Kingsley, we believe that our students can, and should, be in charge of their own learning spaces. One of the ways that we promote this is by allowing students to work together with their classmates to create their Class Charter. Each classroom chooses their own way to approach this task. In every class, students work together and share their ideas to create a charter that describes their ideal learning environment.
Kingsley students are strongly independent and take responsibility for their own learning. We believe that having students lead in the creation of Class Charters is a way to practically, and symbolically, transfer ownership of the classroom and classroom expectations from the teachers to the students. Students, for their part, are more than willing and excited to have the ability to determine the rules and expectations of their classroom.
As students work together to create this set of expectations, they begin to learn important things, not just about their friends in their classroom, but also about what it takes to maintain a positive community in general. Common themes tend to turn up across classrooms and ages. Everyone wants to feel respected, secure, and included—and we generally see those words, or related ones, in the finished charters. Students are happy to realize that working to create these charters is a wonderful first step towards achieving the type of learning environment they've described.
Creating Class Charters: Example
This year, one creative take on the Class Charter idea came from our Lower Elementary 4-1 group. They decided to focus on the theme of "friendship" as their classroom value. Students paired off to bounce ideas off of each other, and eventually created "Friendship Recipes" that describe the best ways to be friends to your classmates.
These Friendship Recipes were modeled after Ms. Mendelson, Ms. Perrin, and Ms. von Hofe's "Great Teacher Recipe," which will also serve as inspiration for their charter. After discussing the finer points of creating a recipe, narrowing down the necessary ingredients, and determining an appropriate cooking style, the Recipes were ready for display.
Eventually, a single Class Charter designed by the students will hang inside the classroom, as a reminder of the expectations that our classmates have for each other, and the positive actions that create a beneficial community.
Creating a strong learning community is a necessity for nurturing secure, confident learners. Learn more about Kingsley's welcoming community first hand! Schedule a visit today.