Halcyon is committed to community building which is particularly important as we have doubled in size this year.
In addition to our three-day residential Halcyon Days trips for each Grade in early September, Halcyon set aside three days in October so that each Grade could participate in a half-day community building workshop.
Ron Halbright, with over 25 years experience in working with young people and schools joined Rita Halbright, one of our co-founders who has also spent years doing community and anti-bullying work, to work with each class. A number of staff participated as well.
The workshops consisted of a number of activities which allowed students to explore their identities, understand stereotypes, examine stereotypes about their own groups (for example girls and boys) and learn when these thoughts (and the behaviours that come with them) may come to the surface and how they can impact on others. Additionally, students heard stories of hurtful behaviour from one another to learn more about how behaviour impacts and consider their own empathy. During the skills building session, students learned how to identify conflict early on and focus on de-escalation. Each class developed their own Class Agreements, i.e. what behaviours they do and do not want in their classroom. These Agreements will be revisited throughout the year for students to assess how well they are abiding by their Class Agreements and whether or not any need to be amended.
Students who had participated in a similar workshop last year took part in different activities which examined being hurt and being hurtful, group discussions (separately for boys and girls), being the oldest in the class and friendships and where does hurtfulness come from. These students also reviewed, assessed and amended their Class Agreements from last year, giving themselves a grade of “OK” (out of Great, OK, Need to Improve).