When you miss out on something, it’s easy to feel excluded. If we want to build a strong classroom community, we need our sweet babies empathy. This is no easy task. Empathy requires children to put themselves in another person’s shoes. To understand how another person is feeling. Simple, right? That’s a hard task, even for adults. Conscious Discipline, an evidence-based solution to discipline and self-regulation, has an amazing daily ritual for the classroom: the Wish You Well board.
How It Works
You create a large board with a big heart in the center. Children have a picture of themselves that can be taken on and off the board. When a child is absent, sick, dealing with a difficult situation, etc, the whole class acknowledges the child. You place the child’s picture in the center of the board and the classroom wishes the child well. This can look a bunch of different ways. Conscious Discipline provides a song on their website to sing together as part of the ritual. Come up with your own chant. Be creative. The idea of recognizing and understanding how another person feels creates a community of empathic learners.
In our class, we have a “Well-Wisher.” The job of the Well-Wisher is to be on the look out for friends absent from school that morning. Those pictures automatically go on the board. During Morning Meeting, the Well-Wisher also opens up the floor to anybody else needing encouragement or support that day. This ritual is amazing to see in action. The children are reaching out for support and receiving love from the entire class.
Create Your Own Board
Get creative! Your board can be any shape, size or color. Put a large heart in the center of the board and the title, “We Wish You Well!” Take a picture of each child’s face. You can put the pictures on small magnets or Velcro pieces. Have a bag/container for the pictures to go in when they aren’t on the board. You can have a “Well-Wisher” job to place the pictures on the board and lead that portion of your meeting.