“Why did you do all this for me?” he asked. “I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.” “You have been my friend,” replied Charlotte. “That itself is a tremendous thing.” - Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White
Learning about friendship plays an important role in the lower school curriculum. In Nursery, students observed “Friendship February” by creating a variety of friendship themed art including painting wooden hearts and creating “Friendship Hearts” in which students wrote something kind about a classmate. The children will work with their teachers to write the letters and draw pictures, which they will then mail to friends. The early childhood literacy curriculum nurtures beginning and pre-reading skills as well as writing skills. This project in particular exemplifies the introduction to different genres of writing, such as personal narratives and letters, that begins in our Nursery program. The Friendship February thematic unit is also an important part of identity development for children to begin to recognize what it means to be a good friend and how they can contribute to their school and the broader community through friendship.
Friendship and letter writing continues in units throughout the lower division. In art, first graders begin the school year with a project focused on “their new best friend,” which is a self-portrait of themself with their new teacher. Our Lower Division art teacher, Ms. Cirgliano, spends many units in early childhood teaching through art what it means to have a “new friend.” Nursery students also create a friendship quilt containing photos of each student in the grade and also create mini paper dolls of their classmates. In second grade, students spend a unit writing letters to friends and teachers in the two different homerooms. At this point in lower division, students have acquired more advanced phonics and comprehension skills, and are able to write letters with proper sentence structure and grammar conventions.
After all, what’s better than receiving a hand-written letter from a friend?