Early Childhood Center Recognized as National School of Character
Highlights of the Early Childhood National School of Character recognition include:
Early Childhood narrowed its core values to four Parker’s Promises: Take care of myself, Take care of each other, Take care of my school and home, and Take care of my world. Students, families and staff voted and Parker the Panda became the school mascot, a symbol of character values. A Parker’s Promise school song includes each core value.
Children show their connection with other students through a “Wish you well” routine when a student in missing. When a student returns back to school there is a “Back to school” routine that allows students to take care of each other. Classrooms and families implement “I love you rituals” which provide opportunities for eye contact, touch and nurturing connection between students and families, students and staff and students and peers.
Early Childhood uses a universal calming strategy called “Shark breath.” Parents have shared that their children show them (the adults!) how to take deep breaths or do yoga to calm down and a student shared that he made up a “shark breath” to use at night when he is scared of thunderstorms.
Students have rotating jobs to support taking care of others and the world. One unique job is a “Parkers Pal” who helps others solve problems and be a friend to someone who needs extra support.
Over the past few years, Early Childhood has partnered with companies including Whole Foods, First Community Credit Union, Target and Ikea to create engaging learning areas in the commons. The Whole Foods dramatic play area teaches students the value of taking care of themselves by eating healthy.