Much has been written over the years regarding the importance of a meeting in the morning for classrooms; for the students to join together in a group and share ideas, to talk about what the day’s schedule is going to be and also, to have fun. And as fun as morning meetings are (I can say without reservation that we laugh every meeting), they also serve a very important purpose. For children coming from different experiences and backgrounds, it provides a common ground from which they can explore and learn.
Singing songs together and participating in activities such as coming up with as many words as we can for the letter of the week, counting together and reviewing what we are learning that week, further cement the concept of community which is so vital to a classroom.
To be sure, there are guidelines and that is another bonus to participating: it establishes rules, promotes common courtesy and reinforces all of the skills that the children will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
For those of you who can’t actually witness one of our Playschool morning meetings at Kids on 12th, here is a rough idea!
We come together after a period of free play, equally important to socially greet our friends after a night with our families. Everyone is then called to form a circle and hold hands. From there we join together in a song that we all know (we have a list of about 4 that we mix up and they all have to do with introducing ourselves and meeting each other, i.e., “Shake Your Friend’s Hand”). Next we say good morning to all of our teachers but we allow the children to come up with inventive ways to do so. They could suggest we say good morning like a race car, like we’re blowing bubbles, like we’re a snowman…you get the idea!
Next we go over what we are learning for the week (dinosaurs, weather, Dr. Seuss stories, etc.). We follow that with letter of the week and number of the week. For letter of the week we come up with as many new words that we can for that letter. For number of the week we choose one student to lead us in a count to that number.
Next, we let one student count how many children there are in class each day and sometimes we have someone estimate how many children there are. After that it’s on to silly word attendance where a teacher offers a very silly (long) word for the letter of the week and each child has to say that word when their name is called. One time the word was Octonocular!
We move then to the blue room where we sing our day of the week and month of the year songs and then take a look at our daily weather chart. One student is chosen to be our weather person and looks out the window for our weather report.
…and this all takes place in about 20 minutes. It’s a lot, and we definitely have fun – but it’s so important and it provides the foundation for the rest of the day, the week and the future of their classroom learning habits.
The morning meeting, or some form of morning routine is equally important to older kids as they move through their school years. As they change classrooms, classmates and teachers each year, their sense of belonging to a classroom community needs to restart with each year. The morning routine, just like we as adults have our own morning routines (a coffee at the local cafe, a gathering at the water to cooler to discuss the weather, the traffic or the hassle of school drop off that day!) gives students a predictable and consistent way of starting each day that sets the tone for the rest of the day. A great way to start your day!