The First and Lower Schools Have Created Something TREEmendous!

The First and Lower Schools Have Created Something TREEmendous!
  • First School
  • Lower School

First and Lower School faculty and staff are working together to study Dr. Becky Bailey's book, Conscious Discipline as part of the two Divisions’ social-emotional learning focus this year. One component or important practice in Dr. Bailey's research is creating a “School Family.” Conscious Discipline asks schools to create a compassionate climate to meet the brain's requirement for interdependence. One feature of Key’s efforts is the creation of family trees in the First and Lower Schools, both in the common areas and in each classroom, which honor each student by featuring photos of them with their families. The galleries are posted so children feel a connection to loved ones as well as to promote conversation and support each person's unique family. 
 
The School Family concept goes beyond the photo galleries. It also involves specific rituals in the classrooms such as a community greeting and farewell and Morning Meeting routines that focus on connectedness with the goal of reducing stress and helping students feel confident and supported enough to fully engage in their classroom community and take risks. This deliberately created and nurtured sense of community has been shown to open doors to heightened problem-solving skills as well as social-emotional and academic success. These designed structures, along with the family photos, help foster an environment where students' and adults' brains are ready and prepared for learning.