Student StoriesWhen children spend their primary school years in classrooms with students of varying ages, the wonder of education unfolds. Aurora K/1 teachers love to share a story about an exemplary first grader who really stepped up on the first day of school.
Stepping Out of Line
“Come with me” she said, “I remember.” They entered the classroom together, one under the other’s wing, and one a full-fledged leader for having seized an opportunity to positively impact the experience of her classmate.
Transition is hard for anyone, but especially for young children. As part of Aurora’s social and emotional educational program, we spend a lot of time talking about transitions so our students are prepared when the time comes to make one. Toward the end of the school year, our teachers routinely ask their kindergartners and first-graders to envision themselves on the first day of the next school year. They even encourage them to start referring to themselves as first- and second graders for the last two weeks of school.
Fast forward to the first day of school of the following fall when the new first-graders were lined up to return to their classroom alongside their new kindergartner classmates. A returning first-grade girl remembered back to the previous year, on her first day as a new kindergartner. She recalled the anxiety she felt saying goodbye to her mom for the first time as she scanned the line of her new younger classmates. Her eyes landed upon a sweet but tearful kindergartner who burst into tears when the teachers indicated it was time to enter her new room. But before the teachers could take a step in to comfort the anxious kindergartner, the first-grader stepped out of line and took matters into her own hands. “Come with me” she said, “I remember.” They entered the classroom together, one under the other’s wing, and one a full-fledged leader for having seized an opportunity to positively impact the experience of her classmate. She didn’t question for a minute whether it would be okay to step out of line: she knew she had to.
This is one example of the many ways Aurora students practice to lead, because the responsibility to do so falls on everyone. It’s also the wonder of a multi-age classroom that sets up opportunities like these for students, every single day of their elementary school years.