Question: My child is at The Learning Community and you spend lots of time in Morning Program, writing songs, and not teaching. I know you say "social" is as important as teaching academics but I want my child to spend more time learning!
Answer: Morning Program at The Learning Community has been going strong for more than 10 years. Currently, the entire school gets together three days a week -- Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays -- for Morning Programs.
Morning Program is an integral part of the TLC character education program, which is a requirement of the state education department for children of this age. Character education includes such concepts as citizenship, tolerance, respect and responsibility -- all of which are emphasized at Morning Program throughout the year.
Because character education is a state requirement, if we didn't have Morning Program, this education would have to happen in each individual classroom. By doing character education as a school community, we're actually making more time for each teacher to focus on core subjects in their classrooms.
Core subjects are also frequently addressed at Morning Programs: Social studies topics are covered on holidays such as Veterans' Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Flag Day, while science concepts are introduced during presentations on the four seasons. Morning Program presentations such as these provide the children with background knowledge and an awareness of topics from the core curriculum.
Music is a key component of the TLC Morning Program. We always sing a patriotic song and often sing a fun song as well. The patriotic songs we sing give our children exposure to a genre of music that they might not otherwise get, especially songs that were popular with older generations. The fun songs that we sing are always chosen with a purpose in mind, such as promoting memorization skills, concentration, coordination and motor skills, and the rhyming found in most songs is part of the English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum for this level.
We also use Morning Program to give our students experiences that we could never provide in each individual classroom. We frequently have guest readers and special presenters who speak about topics such as fire safety, poison safety, helmet safety and dental hygiene, as well as special presentations such as our Veterans Day program and Grandparents Day.
Morning Program also provides our children with an opportunity to develop an important skill that will serve them well throughout their lives -- public speaking. At each Morning Program, different children come onto the stage to read the morning message, recognize family members in attendence and celebrate birthdays. The children are able to gain public speaking experience in a warm and encouraging environment.
In general, the school-wide activities at TLC, such as Morning Program, are not just thrown together. We have a committee of teachers that plans our Morning Programs, makes connections between activities and curriculum, and reviews past Morning Programs to look for ways to make them even better.
- answered by Terry LaFountain, The Learning Community Principal
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