Brimmer’s Lower School faculty believe that students need to feel safe and socially comfortable at School in order to achieve their personal best academically. The Lower School Life Rules, Buddy Groups, and Share assembly are three programs designed to address this need. Lower School faculty work to develop social skills with the goal of reaching the School’s mission to promote ethical behavior by emphasizing individual responsibility, citizenship, and honesty.
RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY, HONESTY, AND KINDNESS
These Life Rules are threaded throughout the school day, and each classroom prominently displays these rules. Students and teachers alike use the four words in conversations to describe the many interactions that occur during the day. As one teacher states, “The Life Rules give students clear expectations for behavior and help develop an environment of inclusion and acceptance.”
Teachers in the Lower School have Buddy Groups of between 8 and 12 students; older students are matched with a younger Buddy. The Buddy Groups typically meet at the weekly Share assembly, but there are two special Buddy Trips each year. The first is the Buddy Apple-Picking Trip in September, and the other is the Buddy Theater Trip in February. A Buddy Teacher shares that “Buddy Groups promote brotherhood/sisterhood between students and foster the older students’ sense of responsibility.”
The Share assembly occurs most Fridays throughout the school year. At Share, Lower School Buddy Groups come together for performances by students and special guests. There may also be special events such as a Buddy Walk or Buddy Reading. Perhaps the most anticipated part of Share is when Gators-of-the-Week are presented. Gators-of-the-Week are presented to those students and/or adults in the community who do something that goes “above and beyond” the Life Rules. Share builds the feeling of community, and as an early childhood teacher says, “Students learn to respect and appreciate a performance and find out what it means to be part of an audience.”