By Ruth Rosenthal
Dean of Lower School
You may have heard about our time-honored K-8 Buddy Program or your students may have talked about their experiences in the collaborative year-long 4th/5th Tribes, but I want to share more of the exciting ways we “buddy” up our students at Brandeis Marin.
Just last week, if you were to have ventured onto our yard or in our classrooms, you would have been delighted to see our 1st graders actively engaged with their “2-Strings” Penpals from MLK School in Sausalito. “2-Strings” is a program started by a high school student, Talia Green, (sister of Daryan) with the intention that it takes 2 strings to create a friendship bracelet. Our 1st graders write letters to their MLK pen pal buddies and vice versa and meet a few times each year to get to know each other and forge friendships. Last Thursday was their first meeting of the school year and the students enjoyed lunch and outdoor games together. Next time they’ll meet at MLK School to further their friendships.
Earlier that day, Kindergarteners and 8th grade students, sat together at Tefillah. They have a calendar of wonderful events planned for this school year, including co-leading a Gratitude Tefillah in November, followed by an Oneg for their parents to meet and share some festive treats.
Later that same day, you would have seen our 4th and 5th grade students engaging in collaborative games on our yard. They will be formed into “Tribes” for the entire year to work on consensus and compromise skills while engaging in challenging projects. The first project will be centered on their Global Read Aloud, Front Desk, which each class will be reading in their library time.
The next day, you might have chanced upon our 2nd and 3rd Grade Buddies working on a geometry activity with a cool symmetry tool. The students are grouped in different pairs or trios every Friday for “one-shot wonder” activities or more sustained thematic projects, such as their upcoming “Author/Illustrator Study”.
3rd graders also venture out into our community to visit Drake Terrace Senior Center for Bridging Generations, an offshoot from the Marin Health and Human Services program called LITA (Love is the Answer). In Bridging Generations, each 3rd grader is paired with a senior to work on art and writing projects throughout the year. 3rd graders also visit with the Gimel Class at the JCC Preschool each month to build friendships on our campus, sometimes in their classroom and sometimes at Brandeis. The 3rd graders even share the responsibility (with the kindergarteners) of the care and feeding of our chickens. In fact, students will be actively working on ways to enhance the lives of the chickens.
Yes – Brandeis abounds with Buddies of different ages and different grades. Ask your students about these fun and engaging activities and their newly forged friendships.