Children spend a huge chunk of their life, at least 30 hours a week, at school. School's have become part of a child's extended family; therefore, school should have a 'family' model to create a positive school climate that promotes optimal development of all children, staff and family providing a sense of safety and belonging.
Can Learn Christian Academy has adapted the School Family model as the metaphor for creating optimal learning environment for children for the following reasons:
1. It optimizes brain development for physical, social, emotional, spiritual and academic success. A family's goal is for all members is to first survive then thrive, reaching their fullest potential.
2. It strengthens or provides an invisible set of assets called "family privileges." The healthy family bond promotes children with a felt sense or safety, belonging and moral/spiritual values. Without this sens of safety and belonging, children act out the pain of their inner needs, and their behaviors become so difficult to manage that learning for all is impeded.
3. It fosters connections within the school so all members feel emotionally safe enough to experience conflict as a learning tool. The School Family creates a healthy connection between all parties in the school from administrator to teachers, teachers to teachers, teachers to parents, children to children, children to teachers, support staff and everyone else. Though this deep sense of belonging, the willingness to change increases and power struggles and resistance to change decreases school-wide. This context of willingness enables conflict to become an opportunity to learn missing self-regulatory, social and emotional skills instead of creating a constant power struggle.
4. It creates a bully-proof climate based on safety, connection and problem solving rather than reward and punishment. In a School Family, our intent shifts to a positive one where we see misbehavior as the child's way of communicating unmet needs or a lack of skills. This perceptual shift moves the entire school away from relying on external controls (rewards and punishment) and toward developing children's internal guidance and problem-solving resources. The School Family also creates a change in the power base; shifting the school from reliance on dominate and conflicted power to an environment of shared power.
5. It utilizes everyday life, conflicts and celebrations as the social-emotional curriculum. Add-on prescriptive social skills, bullying prevention, character education and emotional intelligence curriculum are unnecessary in the School Family. Instead, life lessons are embedded in the daily classroom management process. The social-emotional curriculum is a living culture in the classroom; the curriculum arises out of the group dynamic as teachers become images of emotional intelligence in action.
6. It integrates social-emotional learning into the teaching of academic standards, making all learning more brain compatible and meaningful for teachers, parents and children.
7. It brings the joy back into teaching by opening the hearts of teachers, children and parents, so each can make a difference in the lives of the other.