CORAdvantage Blog Classroom Tips
Morning Meetings: A Way to Strengthen Classroom Community
By Anna Marrs | August 19, 2019
“Jalin, will you forgive me for not sharing the crayons with you yesterday?”
“Yes, I forgive you.”
My first year as a teacher, I was amazed as I observed the classroom where this conversation occurred. Four-and five-year-old children humbly volunteered that they made a mistake and asked each other for forgiveness. How could I ever create that kind of trust and community in my classroom?
Then I learned about morning meetings, or circle time. A morning meeting is a time for children and teachers to gather at the beginning of the day, share information, discuss important topics, and deepen relationships. A morning meeting is a powerful tool because it sets the tone for the day and establishes the classroom as a safe space.
While there are many ways to structure a morning meeting, one simple and consistent routine that can be effective is:
- Meet: Gather in a circle and greet each other (handshake, high five, fist bump, song, etc.)
- Read: Read a quick morning message you have written to children about the day
- Share: Everyone answers a question of the day
- Close: Say a classroom cheer, promise, chant, or pledge
It was that third step that transformed my classroom from a group of individuals to a true community founded on respect and caring. Every Friday became “Forgiveness Friday” and my young children answered the question: “Who do you need to ask for forgiveness today?” I answered too. Some days I had not been as patient as I meant to be. Other days I forgot to bring in the special treat I had promised them. I made a point to model the same honesty and vulnerability I wanted my children to exhibit.
There are many questions you can discuss with your children during a morning meeting. For example:
- What will you do to encourage a friend today?
- What is one way you will share with a friend today?
- What will you do to show kindness today?
- What is one way you will be responsible today?
- What is something you are proud of today?
- Who is someone you are thankful for today?
This sincere practice became the cornerstone for how we treated each other. And by providing my children with a shared language that included words like “forgive”, “kind”, and “thank you”, the way my children interacted with each other throughout the day fundamentally changed.
When I talk about this daily practice to friends, sometimes they laugh and ask me, “what could a five-year-old know about forgiveness?” My answer: “Usually more than adults!”
Exploring Early Childhood Newsletter
In partnership with HighScope Educational Research Foundation, the Exploring Early Childhood Newsletter is a twice a month collection of topical research articles, tips for educators, and unique ways COR Advantage can support the documentation and communication of child development.Subscribe to our newsletter
About COR Advantage
COR Advantage is HighScope’s flagship observation-based assessment. COR Advantage is the leading research-backed assessment for all children from birth to kindergarten. From comprehensive planning tools to dynamic family engagement, COR Advantage offers a complete picture of child growth for schools and families.
About Anna Marrs
Anna Marrs is a former early childhood and elementary literacy curriculum developer for Bridge International Academies and a former 1st grade teacher in North Carolina. She holds a Master in Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education and now works on the Partnerships team at COR Advantage.