The process of going from a "me" to a "we" based classroom is a slow process. The children have to know that they are part of something important. They have to know that they make a difference. They have to know that they belong. When we belong we know that we are safe. Safe to express ourselves, safe to try new things, and safe to let our guard down.
As a class we listed things that keep us safe:
1. What can you do to stay safe?
2. What can your friends do to help keep you safe?
3. What will keep your feelings safe?
4. What will keep your ideas safe?
The responses are different from year to year. This year the responses fell into 5 different broad categories:
1. Respectful Words 2. Kind Hands 3. Listen When People Talk 4. Run Outside 5. Be Safe
Small Group Work
A small group was formed to decide what type of picture would best describe each category and to write out each "classroom agreement."
During morning meeting the group presented the "Classroom Agreements" chart to the class and explained why it was important for everyone to make a promise to keep themselves and their friends safe.
"If you promise to help keep our class safe put your name here."(child pointed to the chart)
Throughout the day the students from the small group went around and invited their friends to go sign the Classroom Agreements. By the end of the day everyone had signed.
Classroom Agreements have to be reviewed and discussed regularly. They need to be displayed in a central area and at eye level. It is visible reminder of what they expect from each other and the promise they made to their friends.