Hello, Good Morning...Let's Start the Day

by Michael Porter
Morning meetings in Pre-K 4 set the day in motion. But it's not just for fun — there are educational components to what they do.

"Do you want to do high-fives, fist bumps, or waves?" asked Pre-K 4 teacher Justine Jeans.
"Waves," answered Alex, who was the designated greeter of the day for the "Owl" class. He proceeded to tell every classmate good morning, waving hello, calling them by name, and asking how they are feeling today.

"Everyone has a job in our class, and a lot of those jobs take place in morning meeting," said Ms. Jeans. 
Alex's classmates get the opportunity to say they feel fine, or they are sad because they miss their mom, or they are excited for the weekend!
"Our greeter in the morning shows them how to look people in the eye, shake hands, or give high fives," Ms. Jeans explained. "[The children] show patience in waiting their turn and show respect for the other people who haven't gone yet." 
Next, a student has to consult the Wish You Well board to see who is present and who is absent, and who is returning from being absent. 

Ms. Jeans leads the class in the song We Wish You Well for the students who are not present for the day.
The students are practicing showing empathy for their classmates. This is part our character education program at JCDS, which begins in Pre-K.
It is also an example of one of the 7 Mindsets, namely We Are Connected.
"It's all about building community in our little Owl class," said Ms. Jeans.

Next on the agenda is the Pledge of Allegiance. While the Pre-K 4 students may be a little young to understand the true meaning of the Pledge, Ms. Jeans uses it as a learning tool.
"We talk about showing respect for our flag. Our flag is a symbol for our country," Ms. Jeans said.
She teaches the students about being polite and showing respect for the flag. She has everyone stand for the Pledge. They work on putting their right hand over their heart and standing still "like a statue." They practice looking at the flag while they say the words to the Pledge of Allegiance.

Every month, the Owl class sings a different patriotic song after the Pledge. For September, the song is Yankee Doodle.
Next, the student whose job it is to announce the weather will peek out the window to see what the skies look like. Naturally, this is followed up with a song!
The calendar person adds the present day to the month. To make the lesson richer, Ms. Jeans uses a pattern of colors for the days. The students have to determine what color the next number should be to follow the pattern. For September, the pattern was yellow-green-green.
All of the little things that make up the Morning Meeting have the purpose of building self-confidence in our young learners. Ms. Jeans wants her Owls to believe, "I can do great things!"