A beautifully manicured landscape fit for a college campus. Hot, healthy meals served with a smile. Clean, state-of-the art facilities. It is easy to take for granted the daily life that we have become accustomed to at Episcopal. Who are the faces behind the scenes that make this possible?
Lower School students have been exploring the trait of “Thankfulness” through their Religion classes and daily lessons in Morning Meeting this month. Studies show that real thankfulness affects both the giver and receiver. Researcher Jeffrey Froh found that even a small dose of daily gratitude can increase optimism, enhance connection to the school community and improve students’ overall attitude towards school and learning. How can we foster an attitude of gratitude on our campus?
Thankfulness can be taught in curriculum. Reading stories about generous people and characters in books such as “The Giving Tree” or “Have You Filled a Bucket Today?” gives students a forum to dissect and discuss traits of a giving person. The Lower School Religion teachers have set up a bulletin board in the Greer Center where students can write what they are thankful for. Giving students the platform to reflect on and showcase their own gratitude makes them more mindful to seek out the small blessings in their lives every day.
Thankfulness takes time and repeated modeling by adults. Children are not born with the trait of thankfulness. This is a learned behavior. Being mindful that students are watching us every day and making an effort to voice our gratitude to others helps students learn these behaviors. Nurturing an environment where all members of the community are valued and appreciated is part of the Responsive Classroom model that is adopted in the Lower School. Students practice what they have learned in their classrooms during their daily Morning Meeting. This trait of thankfulness doesn’t stop in November. It is something that will be revisited throughout the school year, helping students adopt an overall attitude of gratitude in their lives.
Lower School students will show their gratitude to our Support Staff in a special Thanksgiving chapel service on Friday, November 18. Over the past week, bus drivers, cafeteria staff, grounds and custodial staff have visited students in their classrooms. Students had the opportunity to learn about the work that goes into making our school campus run, giving them an appreciation for the time and dedication that the staff puts into their work. The Support Staff will be presented with cards of appreciation from the students along with a special gift
Julie Pace A 2001 graduate of Episcopal High School, Julie returned to her alma mater in 2012. She received both her undergraduate degree and MEd in Elementary Education at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX. After teaching 2nd grade in a Dual Language program in Texas public schools for three years, Julie moved abroad to teach 1st grade at a bilingual school in Gracias, Lempira Honduras. After her adventure was over, Julie accepted a position to teach Pre-K4 at Episcopal School of Baton Rouge, teaching alongside some of her former teachers. She has enjoyed seeing what life is like on the other side of the desk