01 February 2014

Stop dragging my heart around...

This week for the first time in the history of our school I watched students walking past rubbish and litter on the ground. I watched adults doing it too. Well, that's a small thing, you might say - especially in a week where EVERY class settled quickly including Preps, where (nearly) EVERY kid was smiling about being back at school, and EVERY child was learning by 9.20am on Tuesday morning.

Actually, it's not a small thing. It's a big thing.

I talked about this on Assembly on Friday morning. If we are going to start walking past rubbish on the ground, are we also going to start walking past someone who is lonely in the playground? Are we going to stop insisting everyone uses common courtesies? Are we going to stop standing up for a friend and helping them if they are bullied? Are we saying it's okay to ride bikes and scooters and skateboards all over the school ignoring the safety of all?

Bystander behaviour is well documented in print and online literature. A bystander is someone who is present at an event without participating in it. It's dangerous behaviour as it leads to a tacit acceptance of the less desirable behaviour or values. Research shows that the greater the number of bystanders, the less likely it is than someone will take a stand. We have 793 children in our school, over 550 families and more than 70 staff - we can't afford for even some of us to just 'walk past'.
Image courtesy of Deposit Photos (see end note)

I loved 4H's Assembly performance last week. It was a clear demonstration of a simple sentence that can change a child's whole day - come and play with us! So simple and so powerful. The large heart being dragged around on stage was symbolic of how a lonely person feels. We encourage our kids to notice the children who are dragging their hearts around and work to include them - not simply leave it be.

Equally we encourage children (and adults) to pick up rubbish as they walk past.  Leaving litter on the ground says we don't care, and if we don't care about the cleanliness of our playgrounds, the next step is not caring about any of the core values that make our school so special.

At Peregian Springs we wear our core values of respect, responsibility, relationships and choice on our sleeves - we model them, talk about them, reinforce them, explicitly teach them. As we continue to grow as a community, we need to take a stand when someone walks past rubbish.

Image courtesy of Deposit Photos ((http://static5.depositphotos.com/1014680/489/i/950/depositphotos_4892724-Heart-collage.jpg)