5-6 – Family Meeting
Each school day begins with Family Meeting, where students take turns serving as facilitator. Our class members discuss issues that concern us, make decisions, and conduct business. We also have a venue for making personal announcements and expressing concerns. Family Meeting provides a valuable opportunity for students to develop their voice as informed and involved members of the community.
The Value of Family Meetings as Expressed by Fifth and Sixth Graders:
- It’s a good time to make announcements.
- It tells you what’s going to happen during the day.
- It helps you to wind down before actual classes start.
- It gives me a chance to voice my opinions good or bad, or share something I’m excited about.
- You can make group decisions with everyone there.
- You can express your feelings.
- You can build a sense of community.
- You can solve small problems before they become big ones.
- It’s a time where others and I can voice our opinions on important things like when we needed to use conflict resolution. If someone has a problem with someone in the group we try to work it out.
- Family meeting is a time when our “community” is together as I said before. I guess that’s what I love about it. We’re all there to talk to each other, communicating, kind of like dinner at home without food
Other values of family meeting that were brought up in family meeting and were summarized by the teacher:
- We can get to know each other.
- We can talk about what’s happening in school and in students’ lives outside of school.
- We can find out about opportunities that we might be interested in like classes, organizations, going to conferences, etc.
- It’s a time to make decisions like who has which clean-up job, where we’re going on trips, which classes are we going to choose for Exploration and Creation, etc.
- It’s a good way to step into others’ shoes. We hear our peers expressing views that are different from ours and we realize there’s another way to view something. Earlier this year the parents wanted to have evening meetings, and they didn’t want children to attend. We had a long discussion about this in family meeting. Many thought that the parents had a right to have their own meeting, but several said that since they wanted to discuss our education that we ought to be included. We ended up compromising and having a meeting every other month in which parents met alone.