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Grandparents and Special Friends Day

Friday was Grandparents and Special Friends Day here at Chicago Friends School.  During Community Meeting, which culminated our morning together, Karen asked the query, “How does our community feel different on this day?”  There were a lot of interesting and insightful comments. I kept my comment inside but thought I would share it here.

Our school community is relatively small.  On any given day, there are likely to be five adults in the building most of the time.  For me, on Grandparents and Special Friends Day, the feeling of being surrounded by such a supportive community of adults is what felt the most different to me.  Of course, the parents and families of students are already part of our Chicago Friends community, and I am in contact with students’ parents on a regular basis. However, sitting in one big room surrounded by dozens of adults who care deeply about the students in our school and the work I do with them felt special and uplifting.  

Earlier in the day, in our classroom, it was an absolute joy seeing the students swell with pride as they showed their classroom to their grandparents and special friends.   We started off our morning in Morning Meeting together, learning each other’s names and getting to know each other. We then all enjoyed doing an art project together, and students and adults learned more about each other through a fun interview activity.  Students loved showing off their hard work – from their art in the hallway to the math problems in their workbooks to their stories they’d written in their notebooks.

To spend the morning surrounded by a robust extended school community was a fun, invigorating and meaningful way to end the week!

Melanie Berlin

is a classroom teacher on the K-2 team. Before moving to Chicago, Melanie lived in Philadelphia and worked for five years as lead kindergarten teacher at Mastery Charter Mann Elementary School. Previous to that, Melanie lived in the San Francisco Bay Area and taught at an independent school in Oakland, California. Melanie has her B.A. in psychology with a minor in urban education from the University of Pennsylvania. She earned her teaching degree from San Francisco State University with a focus on social justice in education.

In her free time, Melanie loves playing ultimate Frisbee, drinking coffee, playing board games, and spending time with her husband and baby daughter.