Friday’s Inauguration Day presents a unique and powerful learning opportunity for our children. It also offers us yet another chance to live our mission by demonstrating what we mean at Green Acres when we say that we are an inclusive, thoughtful, and respectful community.
We support any parent who plans to take his or her children out of school to attend the Inauguration ceremonies (nothing compares with experiencing an event like this first-hand). Children who will be here will have some class time dedicated to engaging in developmentally-appropriate conversations about our nation’s democracy as a living concept.
This of course will look very different depending on the grade level. For example:
- In Pre-K and Kindergarten, our youngest students will talk briefly and in a general way about what we mean by an “inauguration”;
- 1st and 2nd graders will go a bit further to talk about the importance of a peaceful transfer of power while “inaugurating” Grace, the animal who won their mock election in November;
- 3rd and 4th graders will prepare for and then watch the President’s swearing in and at least part of his address, followed by a facilitated discussion about what they noticed; and
- Middle School students will prepare for the inauguration the day before in their social studies classes and then watch the swearing in and inaugural address, followed by more in-depth reflection and discussion, depending upon the grade level.
We encourage children’s ideas and questions—and make every effort to answer them in ways that reinforce a respect for differences and an attention to what is developmentally appropriate. As this election has generated such strong reactions, we will be working with extra focus to make sure that our school and classrooms remain safe spaces for children to ask their questions and express their opinions. Our explicit expectations of students will be to be open and accepting of one another’s opinions and to practice kindness and civility, particularly when differences arise. (See these Sample Ground Rules for Discussion about Politics from our MS Advisory Handbook.) As we saw in the class discussions that took place on campus after the election, our students overwhelmingly rose to meet our expectations.
We find great joy in nurturing your children’s intellectual and ethical growth, and in promoting their civic-mindedness and commitment to service. This focus was central to last Friday’s MLK Day activities, and it surely will be our focus again this Friday.