Morning Meeting in the Lower School

Elena Jaime
Dear Lower School Families,
It has been a pleasure to be a part of the transition into this new school year and to spend time with the classes. Each room is bursting with hopes for the school year, questions and ideas as they tackle new concepts, and appreciation for the connections they are building within their new communities.
At the beginning of the year, teachers work to establish routines in the classroom. In your visits to the classrooms, you may have noticed one such important routine on the daily schedule, Morning Meeting. Though they take a variety of forms depending on the age of the students, each student in the Lower School experiences this daily meeting. Despite its rather banal name, the Morning Meeting represents a major foundation in the building of a successful classroom community and is a key component of the Responsive Classroom approach. Responsive Classroom, developed by the Northeast Foundation for Children (NEFC), is an evidence-based approach to education that focuses on the strong relationship between academic success and social-emotional learning.
In The Morning Meeting Book, Roxann Kriete writes:
“Teachers have long known and researchers are now confirming that social skills are not just something to be taught so that children behave well enough to get on with the real business of schooling. Rather, they are inextricably intertwined with cognitive growth and intellectual progress. A person who can listen well, who can frame a good question, and has the assertiveness to pose it, who can examine a situation from a number of perspectives will be a strong learner. All those skills-skills essential to academic achievement- must be modeled, experienced, practiced, extended, and refined in the context of social interaction. Morning Meeting is a forum in which all that happens. It is not an add-on, something extra to make time for, but rather an integral part of the day’s planning and curriculum.”
The Morning Meeting sets the tone for the day, communicating to each community member that their voice is important, that their ideas shape the learning in the room, and that being able to work together is just as valuable as the content that is learned in any given lesson. In Morning Meeting, the students greet each other, share about important topics in their own lives and from the world around them, engage in activities that allow them to connect community building with curricular content, and develop language and literacy skills as they read from the daily message. During curriculum night, you will have the opportunity to hear more about how Morning Meeting is experienced by the students in their particular class. For now, as you check in with your child about their day, be sure to ask about these important moments. (Click here learn more about the Responsive Classroom approach.)

Kriete, R. (2002) The Morning Meeting Book, Northeast Foundation for Children, Inc.