BFS Students Participate in Peace and Community Activities in Recognition of March for Our Lives
On Friday, April 20th, in recognition of the March for Our Lives movement and on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School tragedy, Buckingham Friends School scheduled developmentally appropriate activities for all of our students that focused on the Quaker values of peace/non-violence and community.
In the Lower School (K - 2nd grade), teachers led activities about peaceful relationships and strong communities. The students drew a square of a large paper “friendship and kindness” quilt. They also made people of the world, reflecting the diversity of cultures found across the globe. The Quaker saying, “Let your Life Speak” is marked above the door to our main entrance of our building, and our youngest students reflected on this saying, writing about how to let their own Light shine. Throughout the afternoon, they worked in mixed-age groups (K, 1st and 2nd) and another activity was to organize and prepare items to be donated to the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen. Lower School students ended the day with their traditional Friday afternoon sing, which included the song, “This Little Light of Mine”.
In the Middle School, the 3rd - 5th grade classes were in mixed groups that rotated through a variety of “stations” Friday afternoon, centered about peace and the capacity to handle situations positively and peacefully. Third grade teacher, Dennis Haupert led a station where he first showed a video, “Letter to a Person on Their First Day,” which encouraged the children to focus on the small, but wonderful moments in life. Students then wrote messages on a banner of their favorite small and basic, but amazing, things as if they were sharing them with someone just arriving to Earth. Students also watched a TED talk, “How Little People Can Make A Big Difference,” after which, they discussed the creation of a “buddy bench” and took a survey about whether they would like to have a buddy bench here at BFS. At the final station, Lauren Cortright, Fifth grade teacher, read a story, “Thank You, Ma’am,” by Langston Hughes.
The Upper School spent the entire day recognizing the guiding principles of peace and non-violence during a specially planned Upper School Day, which is an annual day set aside for US students to take time away from their classrooms and focus on community building. In the morning, students and the US teachers went to Peace Valley Park to learn about Human Rights, Social Justice, Courage, and Civic Understanding during a 4-session workshop. They ate their lunch at Peace Valley and then returned to BFS in the afternoon for more activities, which allowed students to use their understanding from their morning workshop sessions to participate in activities that teach them about engaging our self, our community, our nation, and our global communities. Students had fun participating in some relay races and then the day concluded with a whole-group reflection, which took place on the large yoga platform in the woods by the pond.