Lower Schoolers had a wonderful surprise last Friday: Beasley Community Day! Activities were thoughtfully designed around the theme of “we take care of ourselves, we take care of others and we take care of our school.” The morning included service and kindness activities. Students created a beautiful new window panel with kindness messages and murals for the Beasley library. They read stories about kindness and wrote notes of appreciation to the adults that keep Beasley running smoothly. They made kindness rocks to add to the Beasley Kindness Garden and created bird feeders to help birds during cold weather months.
Even lunchtime and recess was special. Different grade levels of children ate and played together. The afternoon offered a variety of activities from which the children could choose. Some children played with Legos while others engaged in maker-space activities. Students created art projects and played educational games in the computer lab. Others challenged their friends to a board game such as “Guess Who.” They stayed active with PE games and “Dance Dance Revolution.” Some students relaxed with cartoons or quiet reading time after a busy day.
Underneath the fun was a day built with purposeful and research-based design. Lower School administrators and teachers have studied several psychologists, educators and researchers over the past few years – for example, David Walsh (Smarter Parenting, Smarter Kids), Julie Lythcott-Haims (How to Raise an Adult), Paul Tough (How Children Succeed) and Louise Dermot-Sparks/Julie Olsen Edwards (Anti-Bias Education for Young Children and Ourselves). And of course, their Responsive Classroom studies and practice have framed so much of the Beasley experience. This research and more influenced the planning of Beasley Community Day.
Lower School Head Janet McMillion shared, “To grow confident, competent citizens, research tells us that children need to have unstructured playtime and experiences where they can practice making decisions and choosing from options. They need to practice gratitude and kindness and have opportunities to nurture younger children or learn from older children. They need time to enjoy the messiness of creative construction, and they need interesting problems to solve. They need time to do what they love and time to just be with friends. Beasley Community Day allowed for these experiences and more.”