In our current educational system, the concept of building a safe, supportive, inclusive, and vibrant community gets lost in the push for academic rigor. I will always argue that establishing an environment where everyone feels comfortable being themselves - (absolutely) has to be the precursor to scholarship.
I spend my days surrounded by kids who all have the agency to build their (very own) community. They understand that supporting each other with kindness and encouragement, in the end, helps them all.
In addition, DRC kids understand that the staff trusts and respects them - period - full stop - no contingencies. With that knowledge, they extend the same regard to their peers. And then, together, they feel free to explore the world on their own terms.
No, it isn't all rainbows and unicorns. You bet there are days that we get on each other's nerves and get royally ticked off. Nonetheless, at the end of the day, because the foundation of our community is solid - we talk about whatever pissed us off, and then we move forward.
This exact scenario happened this past Thursday - it was one of those bad-vibe days. Everyone was in a mood, and it felt funky all around.
E was feeling it particularly hard. He needed a fork to eat his lunch - so he stomped over to the utensil drawer and yanked it open. The force pulled the mechanism off the tracks, and the drawer fell on the floor with a crash - the front breaking off. Everyone in the kitchen stopped whatever they were doing in utter shock. It was silent for ten seconds. Then without any prodding, E bent down and started picking up the contents strewn across the floor. Without hesitation, several other kids joined him. No one criticized or nitpicked - they simply helped.
I filled the sink with hot sanitizing water while he transferred all the utensils. He swished everything through the water and placed them in the dish drainer to rinse with hot water spray. While he was doing that, we talked calmly about dealing positively with the consequences of actions - even when they are mistakes. In those few moments, he learned the people you trust and respect are the ones who will always have your back, even when you mess up - a life lesson that will remain with him forever.
Weekly Creative Meditation
As mentioned, Thursday was a crazy energy day at #DRCCanton. A came in from playing outside with the younger kiddos and pulled the snow out of his hoodie pocket with a huge grin on his face. This particular quote highlights how the DRC multi-age environment fosters content kids who happily engage in cooperative play and take care of each other - while building community.
We are trying to institute a Summer Program in Massena at our DRC-East Center that is free for the kids who live in subsidized housing. To do so, we need businesses and organizations to sponsor the program. Please share this information.
Registration for our Imagination Station Canton Summer Program - the last three weeks of August is open. Click the button to the google application form. Space is limited.
Enjoy these photo galleries from both Centers. Our kiddos were happy to be back after our mid-winter break.
And finally - one more way you can support our kiddos. Visit our Amazon Shopping List here.
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