Crowning Day for Ks

Our school celebrates and welcomes our new kindergartners with a special all-school Morning Meeting affectionately known as “Crowning Day.” Planning for Crowning Day begins before the kindergartners start school. The fifth graders look forward to their new responsibility as we match each of them with a K-buddy. The third and fourth graders create crowns for each kindergartner.

On the special day, grades 1–4 assemble in the gymnasium and sing our “I’d like to say hello, hello, and how-do-you-do . . .” song (written by our music teacher Susan Hogan) as two rows of teachers and students face each other and form a bridge with outstretched arms. Hand in hand, the fifth graders and the K’s then come in and walk under our friendship bridge, and each K receives a one-of-a-kind crown.

Many teachers and parents are moist-eyed as the older buddies sit with their K friends and help them adjust to their first all-school Morning Meeting. In their powerful role as mentors, fifth graders practice and demonstrate the social skills emphasized in the Responsive Classroom approach: cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, and self-control. Throughout the year, this special relationship continues at all-school Morning Meetings, assemblies, and school projects. These sincere and affectionate friendships are vital to our strong, compassionate elementary community.

Crowning Day eases the start of school for our kindergartners, but it does much more than that. It models for all students ways to greet and welcome new members of our community, and it inspires a sense of responsibility and appropriate behavior.

The resulting climate of mutual respect benefits the whole school community. And it all begins with Crowning Day!

Barbara L. Nason teaches third and fourth graders at Bellows Free Academy in Bellows Falls, Vermont. She is a certified Responsive Classroom consulting teacher.

Tags: Building Schoolwide Community, Kindergarten, Whole-school meetings

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