It’s not every day that a teacher gets teary-eyed, but the quiet understanding of the CHIRP at Grace Preschool could turn even the toughest of us into a puddle.

The CHIRP (Courage, Honesty, Integrity, Responsibility, and Perseverance) is the underlying theme of the story, The Empty Pot by Demi. This story is fantastic, and many educators around the globe cherish it. The teachers at Grace are doing a tremendous job of incorporating this story, and the themes that go along with it, into social-emotional learning at Grace.

The Kindergartners at Grace read the story with their teacher, and along with discussions of setting, characters, problem and solution, came conversations with a deeper meaning. “I know that I can be responsible when I take care of my things!” “I know that I can persevere when I don’t give up when something is hard.” “I have integrity when I do what is right, even when no one is watching.” “I can do hard things.” All big concepts for little learners.

When asked about the lesson, Kindergarten teacher Robin Tribbe shared, “I was blown away by how well my students received and interpreted the themes of the story! They shared with me stories of how they are responsible, honest, courageous, and strong in their everyday lives. The sweetness of it all brought tears to my eyes. They took what I thought of as a standard reading lesson and turned it into a life lesson.”

Social-emotional learning is the cornerstone of learning for the year at Grace. Teachers have quality check-in times with kids during their Morning Meetings and Closing Circles. In-person, (socially distanced) learning allows students to make friendships, connect, and learn and play each day.

Social outreach is also a valued part of the curriculum, and the Kindergartners at Grace help to create bags of food for families in the surrounding area.

Grace United Methodist Church and Grace Preschool work together to provide weekend meals for local families. The church provides the food, and the boys and girls at Grace take turns packing the bags that are later distributed to schools and families.

While the boys and girls did a fantastic job, they were saddened to know that some boys and girls their own age did not have enough food to feed their families over the weekend. Our students at Grace were thrilled to play a small part in helping local families in need.

“Social outreach for little ones can be a tricky scenario in even the best circumstances.  The fact that our Kindergartners can identify a need in the community and work together to be helpers in a practical, safe way is really exciting,” shared Director, Tami James. “We work hard to connect with our students and to help them remain engaged in the community. In this socially distanced time, we felt that this was a great way to do both.”

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