If you ask a child what the most important thing they do at school is, their answer will likely have to do with playing, belonging, and feeling safe. So, how do we help all students build friendships, fit in, be tolerant of differences and feel that school is a safe and caring place to be? At Coventry Hills School, we do it by making our virtue work part of each and every day!
In a K-3 school like Coventry Hills, one student amongst 600 other students can feel like a grain of sand on a beach. That is why our students and our school community value learning how to live by some very important virtues. This year, to create visual reminders of the nine virtues we will highlight, all students in all classes worked together as a team to create virtue banners. Three sets of 27 banners were then hung in the most visual spaces for students to view throughout the year.
Has it made a difference to students? Absolutely! One student stated, “When we worked on the banner together, it was like we were all pieces of one big puzzle that fit together to make a great picture”. Another student remarked, “It was cool to see what other classes made after investigating the same virtue word as our class. Every banner is super different! That’s like us, right?”
Has it made a difference to our parents? Without a doubt! One parent reported that her son was helping wash the dishes and said, “Look mom, I’m showing patience because this is taking a LONG time.” Another parent told a staff member, “It’s funny…he can’t spell the word ‘said’ but he can spell ‘thoughtfulness’ and explain everything about it.” One dad shared that he had been arguing with his teenage son when his grade one child interrupted and insisted, “Dad, you need to show forgiveness. Everyone makes mistakes.”
Has it made a difference in our school and the world we live in? Unquestionably! We have noticed a shift in our students’ character and their understanding that living the virtues can help them become better citizens. Some students have joined our “Coventry Cares Club” to work together to find ways to help others; our classes are saving old markers to be recycled into fuel; our families collected over 260 jackets for Jacket Racket; several students have asked for money instead of presents on their birthdays to donate to organizations such as the Alberta Animal Rescue Crew Society, the Calgary Humane Society and the Heart and Stroke Foundation; and some grade one students have asked teachers to help them organize a collection of school supplies to donate to other CBE students that cannot afford to have them at home.
Our students might be young but they certainly know that if they put the virtues first and strive to be the best they can be, they can create great change! They know that their actions can create a ripple effect to make our world a better place.