Students can learn about character by working together and developing an understanding of other people's interests, needs, backgrounds. Working in small groups, leading to larger discussions, slowly creates connections, builds relationships and rapport, and helps students to grow. They can rely on each other, become mentors, leaders, and feel supported and provide support in the classroom and beyond.
Starting the year by having students focused on relationships, peer support, developing connections is a way to create a positive, supportive, collaborative learning environment. There is plenty of time in the year for instruction and lessons and activities for learning. Use the time to start off with activities to learn about the students and let them learn about you. Share experiences, create an environment where students feel supported and connected to everyone in the room. Starting within the classroom with strong support and encouraging good rapport with peers and teachers, will flow into the halls of the school and beyond. These starting points will set up the students for future experiences in new learning and work environments, with a focus on connecting and collaborating and learning how to communicate and share new perspectives.