Upper Elementary and Middle School faculty engaged their students in age-appropriate discussions about last week’s insurrection at the Capitol.
In Middle school, this conversation took place during humanities class and focused on defining lawful protests versus destruction of property and violence. Students asked questions and shared what they had heard and how they felt about the events. With a backdrop of preparation from recent novel studies involving the dangers of “group think,” “fake news,” and following blindly, students linked Wednesday’s events to other issues they had studied. Every student who wanted to participate had a chance to speak and all made valuable contributions.
In Upper Elementary, where students have been learning about the presidential election and electoral college, the discussion began with 5th graders during their Literacy block. The lesson followed the framework offered by Facing History and Ourselves, and started off by reminding students of the Respect Agreements they had created during Social Studies. Faculty assessed who had heard the news or talked to parents about the events. Then, teachers engaged the older students in a group discussion to process the news relative to their understanding of civics. The session ended with a student activity, called a “chalk talk,” during which a teacher writes a prompt on the board and the children respond by writing questions, thoughts, and comments that engage further responses. Given the nature of mixed age classrooms, a similar discussion (without the chalk talk) occurred with the 4th graders. Some of the 3rd graders asked about the events as well, so faculty utilized Scholastic resources to provide clarity and a safe space for this age group to process and ask questions.
Our Montessori values and mission to help each child to develop their own thoughts, moral compass, and commitment to peaceful discourse, guide our work with students on the topic of current events.