Thursday, April 3, 2008

CARE - To be the best that you can be.

CARE awards ~ Citizen, Achievement, Responsibility, Effort

The importance that the children place on CARE awards should not be underestimated. The recognition for doing something that is acknowledged as a positive and appreciated behaviour is a developmental experience that all children deserve. However a critical factor in making this happen lies within the ability of others, particularly adults, to identify what is really “good”, acknowledge it, and then reinforce the importance of it. Our teachers are constantly on the look out to capture positive behaviours in the classroom and playground.

Capturing this moment of goodness is an interesting challenge for those observing behaviour patterns in and around the school environment. Children are more likely to learn about the virtues of good behavior when they see the evidence of it and so gathering the evidence of such behaviours can involve a variety of pleasurable strategies. For example, photographing simple behaviours that express common values such as sharing a treat, a friendly smile, or helping a friend can be good starting points for follow up recognition, discussion and reflection on the impact such actions have on self and others. Parents who attend our assemblies will have seen numerous ‘action’ photos featuring our children on the big screen depicting a values attribute. They will also have seen how the staff gives that extra time to highlight and acknowledge it.

It seems to me that CARE needs to be a much broader concept than just doing a favour or picking up someone’s rubbish. It needs to be a strengthening behaviour modification strategy, towards promoting our entire set of core values. Acquiring a sense of community, a sense of belonging, a sense of pride, and a sense of personal responsibility can only happen when the positive behaviours we all strive for are identified, recognised and celebrated in some way. To do this well we need to teach it and measure our success against it.

At Muritai we are fortunate to have an abundance of examples where the children demonstrate a strong sense of responsibility towards their school, their place in it and their contribution to its culture. The leadership of the senior pupils deserves special mention here. The caring and the nurturing they show towards the juniors and new entrants is a pleasure to observe. With our split site often this leadership falls onto our year 5-6 students who thrive in this responsibility. There is no doubt that the older pupils set the attitude and learning standards that significantly affect the tone and culture of our school and this undoubtedly reflects the strength of the values held by the families we have at Muritai. The routines and the standards established at home and reinforced at school, hugely affect the excellent standards of behaviour we see in your children. When adult conversations, often heard by the children, reflect positive and supportive statements about the school and the people in it, the children themselves value the place and the people they spend so much time with.

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