Practicing Peace in a Chaotic World

April 2nd, 2020

Providing children with the tools to find peace in an anxious world is essential to creating spaces where meaningful learning can happen. Here are some of the ways our teachers integrate thoughtful practices in their classes to ease our children’s anxieties and promote positive, collaborative learning communities:

We start the day with a goal in mind, and we end it with reflection.

Teachers meet with their students each morning to discuss the coming day, and they meet again each afternoon to reflect on the work they’ve done and the work they have yet to do. For many students (and parents), there’s a bit of flexibility on what happens between those times. Regardless, we believe it is essential for each of us to begin the day with a sense of what we hope to accomplish for the day. It imbues the day with purpose. Ending our school days with periods of reflection allows each of us to grow as individuals, while also providing space for pause in a hectic world.
We work to build and maintain a cohesive community.
Though we are physically separated, we are not far apart. Students and teachers meet virtually through video conferences, and while these meetings are essential to instruction and learning, they are also spaces where community bonds are built and strengthened. Long periods of social isolation are difficult for most people and are especially so for children who thrive on community. We ensure the strength of this community not only in group discussions, but also in individual calls between teachers and students to provide one-on-one instruction. All of us are isolated, but none of us are alone. There is a great community at Selwyn, and we are all here for one another.
We keep structure in our lives.
Routine is healthy—it provides a sense of structure and order to an otherwise chaotic world. Especially for children at early stages of development, a structured day makes it easier to focus in class and be emotionally and mentally present to engage in learning activities. A sense of structure is important to most of us, because, without it, we can begin to feel adrift. By giving a day structure and maintaining a sense of our daily schedules, we are able to focus on learning and can worry less about what we cannot control.
I have heard from so many of you about your experiences of seeing your children learning online. The pictures and videos parents have posted online of students engaged in remote science experiments, drama performances, and fun moments of community have reassured me about the resilience of our community. We hope to be a source of calm and security to you and your families during a time of great national unease. Teachers and administrators continue to meet regularly through online conferences, and—despite our physical distance from one another—the mission at Selwyn continues unchanged. Our school is no stranger to challenge, and we know that, moving forward, it is precisely this community’s strength that will carry it through the day.

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