Responsible Leadership and Emerging Voices in Lower School

Judith Guild, Head of School
We have had a delightful fall in our Lower School, one filled with creativity, collaboration between the grade levels, and purposeful learning in and out of the classrooms.
Each year we follow a theme that helps us focus on upholding our mission. This year’s theme Responsible Leadership and Student Voice has opened up conversations throughout our PK-Grade 12 school. I am grateful that our faculty makes the time and provides the space for the voices of our youngest children to be developed, heard, and understood. Teaching students to be responsible for themselves, others, and the earth on which we live has been an active focus on the theme. I would like to share a few of the moments when I observed our students exhibiting responsible leadership and revealed evidence of their emerging voices.
Throughout the Lower School this fall, our third, fourth, and fifth grade students were learning to be responsible buddies to our youngest members. Our older students take this responsibility seriously, and our younger students love having time with their big buddy. Taking care of and listening to the younger students helps to build our community values and offer leadership opportunities.

To prepare our PK children for being responsible members of the School community, the students are learning about “Brimmer Behavior” and how to be an honest, kind, respectful and responsible student. In addition, the PK children are learning about community. They have discussed the places they see in their community and what they may like to do to be part of it.

Our Kindergarten students are learning about the world in which they live, and part of that is knowing our neighbors to the north. As they turn their attention to Canada, they will begin to understand how neighbors work together.
Our first and third graders get together each week so the older students can read to the younger ones. Sharing this important skill of storytelling helps them learn about one another and listen to the voices of others. This strengthens both the community and their academic skills.
Our second graders are learning about how we need to care for our earth and have begun a new weathering and erosion project. They will design barriers to prevent erosion on a simulated coastline where they will use a variety of materials to build effective barriers to erosion. Taking active steps to protect the earth in vulnerable areas gives them a sense of responsibility for something greater than themselves.
Fourth graders took to our sidewalks and brought awareness to the School community about the perils of climate change. By sharing how we must be responsible stewards of our earth, they learned about presenting their ideas with conviction and respect. They made compelling statements about how we can take action and be leaders of this effort.
The leaders of our Lower School, our fifth graders, have begun their year-long commitment to volunteering at the Chestnut Senior Center where they visit and care for our neighborhood seniors. They model the Life Rules as they step out into the neighboring community as responsible young people.
As an inclusive private school community, Brimmer welcomes students who will increase the diversity of our school. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, sex, gender, gender identity and expression, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, or any other characteristic protected from discrimination under state or federal law, in the administration of our educational policies, admissions practices, financial aid decisions, and athletic and other school-administered programs.