We begin each day with a morning meeting. These meetings are an important part of our school day; a time for developing a sense of comradeship and for ensuring that everyone has a voice and feels a sense of ownership in the day-to-day running of the classroom. We begin by coming together as a community to check that everyone is here. If someone is absent, we talk about where they might be. The children ask if I have checked my email for a message and are reassured when they know their classmate is ok.
Once everyone is present or accounted for, we move on to discussing the day ahead. The children take turns to lead the meetings and have devised a system to ensure that everyone has a turn. The meeting starts with the daily message which highlights the important events of the day.
As the year progresses, I gradually hand over responsibility to the children. By this time in the year, the children often write the daily message themselves and can run the meetings independently. Together we read the message and discuss and negotiate the contents to reach consensus on a time-line for the day.
Children are free to add their name to the agenda if they have something they would like to share. We have talked in depth about how agenda items should be related to what we are doing in school, and relevent to everyone in the class. Other items may be shared as ‘show and tell’ items at another time in the day. Often the ideas raised by individual students through the morning meeting agenda develop into projects that involve the whole class. Some of these projects may last a day, some a week and a few may go on over months.
Through the morning meetings the children learn about leadership, democracy and community. They learn to share responsibility for their own learning and for each other’s learning. They learn that they have rights and responsibilities. And they learn that they have a voice and that their ideas matter.