Safe and Caring
There are a number of ways that Vera M. Welsh strives to create a safe and caring learning community for its students.
“Moral intelligence is the capacity to understand right from wrong; it means to have strong ethical convictions and to act on them so that one behaves in the right and honorable way” (Borba, 2001, p. 4).
At Vera M. Welsh School we hold Moral Intelligence weekly grade level assemblies focusing on the virtues of Empathy, Conscience, Self- Control and Respect.
Vera M. Welsh school staff and School Council firmly believe we need to teach and model for students what each virtue looks like, sounds like and feels like in order to develop essential life-long habits of knowing how to care about themselves and others. Literature is chosen to complement the virtues being studied and through discussion and role-play, students learn how to interact with others in a caring and compassionate manner. By building a common language in assembly, students and staff understand expectations in the school, and on the playground.
Students first learn about empathy and the different kinds of feelings people have as well as how to show caring towards others. Conscience teaches students to understand the difference between right and wrong and to know the kind and right way to act even when no one is watching. Self-Control lessons show students how to use STAR behavior - Stop, Think, Act, Right. Finally, students learn what it means to be respectful - to themselves, others and things.
Teachers at Vera M. Welsh School use TRIBES to learn how to build community within their classroom.
As a TRIBES school, Vera M. Welsh focuses on building a school “learning community where teachers, administrators, support staff, students and parents all enjoy mutual respect and caring essential for growth and learning”(Gibbs, 2006, p. 11).
TRIBES is based upon four community agreements: Attentive Listening, Appreciations/no put downs, The right to pass- the right to participate and Mutual Respect.
The Vera M. Welsh school community focuses on creating a culture for learning by teaching students what each of the agreements look like, sound like and feel like. This is done through active learning experiences where students are taught and then practice the skills necessary to be a member of the school community. In addition, students are taught to be self-reflective so they can think about their behavior and actions and make changes when necessary.