Norwich Public Schools:
Students discuss gratitude, learn about giving
Sarah Herrick For The Bulletin
Scarlett Lewis, founder of the Choose Love Movement, visited classrooms at Uncas Network School recently to observe program implementation.
The Choose Love Movement is a social/emotional program designed to help schools teach students effective social/emotional skills. The Huffington Post is doing a documentary featuring Scarlett and the work of her program, which Uncas is piloting this school year.
An evening activity was planned to share the learning with families. The Uncas PTO sponsored its annual potluck, where families brought in their favorite dish to share with one another. During the potluck, parents, students and teachers participated in a community circle and discussed what they are grateful for, which connects to a Choose Love lesson recently done in classrooms.
Parents and families heard about "brave breaths" and "gratitude breaths" and then everyone joined the circle to share what they are grateful for. For example, an Uncas fourth-grader spoke about being grateful for her older sister's sacrifice to serve in the military. It was a wonderful way to connect the learning at school to the Uncas families.
Students and families from Norwich Public Schools have been giving back to our community around Thanksgiving. Huntington School had a food drive and collected more than 400 pounds of food to donate. That is equal to a full drum of oil, a piano or motorcycle. Wequonnoc Arts and Technology Magnet School gave United Way a generous check in the amount of $70.
Stanton School fifth-graders have formed a "Young United Way" group. The two fifth grade classrooms started a competition to see who could collect the most food. They separated the school in two sections and went on with the business of asking for donations.
They ended up collecting 902 pounds of food - equal to the average weight of a male polar bear. All donations were brought to the Gemma Moran Food Bank in New London in a packed small school bus. The children also visited the food bank where they were able to see the food being weighed, were given a tour and told more about the programs they offer. Some students said what they liked best about the trip was learning about the mobile food pantry and how much all the food weighed that they donated.
Cindy Beauregard, Stanton Family Resource Center site manager said, "When Abby (Dolliver, superintendent of schools) asked me to be Norwich Public Schools representative for United Way, I thought it would be a huge challenge. But NPS is a great team that works together and is so giving. It turned out to be an easy accomplishment."
Sarah J. Herrick is the Norwich Public Schools' Business Office administrative assistant.