By: Michele DiPasquale
The power of positive thinking is not a new axiom, and over the years, many people believe that with daily conscious practice, enforcing positive thoughts throughout the day can help promote regular positive thinking and thereby a kind of peaceful contentment. Positive thinking has become so celebrated that teachers in elementary schools are taking it on with a happy fierceness in the hope that positivity in everyday life and social interactions are improved by making it a commonplace start to one’s day.
The teachers at Tinc Road Elementary School in Flanders are all about positivity and to help promote it they start their day with the Morning Meeting.
“Each and every morning, our teachers set the tone for the students by starting the day off in a positive manner. They recognize the importance of building a community of learners that respect one another and appreciate each other’s interests and opinions,” said Tinc Road Principal Scott Lipson.
Each and every morning, the staff at Tinc Road School holds its morning meetings in their classrooms from 8:40 until 9:00 a.m.
“All staff members participate, so on any given day, the music teacher might join in on a third-grade-morning meeting, or the PE teacher will sit in with a first-grade class. I make it a goal to take part in as many morning meetings as I can,” said Principal Lipson.
Tinc Road School embraces what’s known as SEL, social and emotional learning, which is the set of skills, knowledge, and behaviors involved in understanding and managing emotions, setting positive goals, feeling empathy for others, engaging in positive relationships, and solving problems effectively. By embracing the daily Morning Meeting, positivity becomes a happy practice.
The Morning Meeting is based on four components: the Greeting; Sharing; an Activity: and News. Teachers interpret the Greeting portion in their own way; some have the students stand in a circle to greet each other, while other teachers stand at their doorway and greet their students in a variety of ways as they walk in. Examples include handshakes, high-fives, thumbs-ups, and hugs. For the Sharing component, students share interesting stories or information that prompts questions from their peers. The Activity portion of the meeting brings students together in a shared exercise. The final News and announcements component of the meeting comes from the teacher to inform the students about the day.
Character education is an important element of instruction, and creating a school culture where children feel safe and accepted is essential to a child’s well-being. Tinc Road School focuses on good character education and a climate where everyone is accepted and has a voice, and where everyone is treated fairly with kindness and respect.