04 November 2009

lean on me

One of the many things I love about Oliver's school is how the older kids treat the younger ones. Since everyone changes classes, even the PKs, they are out and about in the school. It's a small place (600 or so students in PK - 12) so they get to know each other quickly, but imagine a three and a half foot tall PK kid walking the halls frequented by 8th graders. Many of them are taller than I am! The school has some planned opportunities for interaction (5th grade buddies for PK, 8th grade buddies for K) a lot seems to happen outside the lines.

While I would expect a little intimidation, that's not what I am seeing. Oliver walks around like he owns the place, knows many of the kids by name, and they know him. Case in point, an 8th grader he met last summer. She makes him friendship bracelets and helps in his class during a free period. Her little sister is Oliver's 5th grade buddy and I'm certain he couldn't choose between them. The 5th grader drew him a picture today and he got very angry with me when I dared fold it (to fit in his backpack) without his permission.

He spotted the 8th grader when we arrived at a recent field hockey match and promptly sat on her, instead of sitting with me in the bleachers. I couldn't pry him away and if she was bothered by him, she hid it very well.

A few days later we were watching soccer, faculty vs varsity. Oliver was getting fidgety and went to kick a ball on the sidelines with some other kids, all older than him. Not only did they welcome him into their play, the middle school goal keeper took all the little kids behind the field and kicked the ball around with them.

In my experience, bigger kids tended to ignore the little ones (if I was lucky) and could be downright mean (if I wasn't so lucky). I see not the slightest hint of that sort of behavior at this school.

Since this is the norm at the school and not in any way exceptional behavior, I am confident Oliver will pay it forward and be kind to the little ones once he is a big kid.


Scrumpy Daddy said...

That is awesome, and wonderfully heartwarming! Thank you for sharing these experiences and observations!

I wish all schools and groups of kids (ALL people, for that matter, not just kids) were as considerate to those around them.

Anonymous said...

That is great. It just sounds like everyone, from parents to faculty, is doing a good job. I hope my girls find a similar culture when they enter "real" school.