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As we consider matters of the heart, the Kindergarten has given thought to connecting our hearts to others.

How do we build community beyond the walls of our school? A powerful question to answer when you are very young.

We started the school year with the image of a string connecting all members of our community. If we say hurtful things or neglect to take care of each member in our community the strings are no longer connected and our community stops working.

This image became tangible on Martin Luther King day with the help of Renee, our PE teacher and our eighth grade buddies. Renee gave the students a ball of yarn and asked them to offer it to a friend across the circle. Soon the ties that bind a community were visible. We could actually see the connections that exist between our hearts.

We invited the Circle Preschool, an inner city early education center, to visit us at our campus. The children began to plan the gathering. They felt it was important to include games that forged bridges between themselves and the visiting children. We played Telephone, Apples and Oranges (London Bridge is Falling Down) and included the game Renee had taught us.

We began to build connections between our two communities.

The students remarked:

"I felt connected when we played telephone because we welcomed them with our message."

"I liked it when I ate my snack with [the Circle Preschool students]. It made me feel good."

"I liked when we had snack together because we never have visitors at the table with us."

"I liked it when we tossed the strings. I saw that when we tossed the ropes they were looking at me and when I saw them they smiled at me."

"I liked when we tossed the yarn because the yarn was love."

"When we played the games I felt connected to them because they were new here and I wanted to them to be liked."

"I liked when we said goodbye because I felt connected. It was only the second time we saw them and so I felt love inside."

To read more on the Kindergarten Gleanings Blog, click here.

About the Author: 

Mary grew up inspired to teach by her family of educators. In addition to teaching for over ten years at the lower school level, she spent several years implementing a state Instructional Support Team initiative designed to enhance teachers’ skills in the application of best practice. The initiative sought to provide instructional support through collaboration, problem-solving, and the utilization of data for classroom and school decisions. Subsequently she continued her work with the Instructional Support Team initiative as a Virginia Department of Education consultant, visiting sites across the state, developing curriculum, training teachers to facilitate local teams, and working to develop assessment and validation tools to evaluate progress at each site. Mary holds a Master’s degree in reading from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Mary has been teaching Sabot at Stony Point since 2006. "It is a joy to be present with children as they take ownership for their learning in the midst of a collaborative and creative environment." Mary has had an instrumental role in the curriculum development for the Lower School. She was one of several professionals researching, writing and supporting the literacy curriculum and Sabot's progressive student assessment report.