Posted on February 27, 2010. Filed under: cultural, educational, personal, reflection | Tags: |

This post is a response to Dean Shareski’s post

Community. This is an interesting thought for culture and society as a whole. It seems that community is a value everyone wants, but it is hard to get.  I think of the church my husband and I attended until we switched this summer. I remember the pastor of our small group always saying that he was trying to build community, but honestly, it just never happened. The people weren’t meshing and it was not a culture of community. Just the way things happened to go, this summer, my husband and I switched churches and we are now attending The Compass ( I know it sounds like a little cult or something haha but don’t worry it’s not. It’s just a small church plant here in Regina. I can’t even tell you the community that is happening at this church right now!  I have never felt this close and unified with a group of people in my life. So, I ask, what’s the difference? What has made this church community “better” than the last one? Obviously the people make a difference- but I think it comes down to leadership and how things are run. Once a week there are small group Bible studies where single people, families, and couples meet together.  This is definitely an awesome time, but what has really amazed me is that once a month all the guys of the church get together for supper and drinks and call it “the league of ordinary men.”  They basically wrestle through life, talk about God, and share what they have been going through and support each other.  Us women have our own get together once a month as well. (We call it a league of our own :P)  I actually just got home from Starbucks where we met this morning.  Our group is very similiar, we chat about God, life, school, work, families, prayer requests etc.  But I have to say, in our society, it’s not unusual for a group of girls to get together and talk about life- where it is a little bit unusual for a group of guys to get together as a “community” and talk about life.  I have really noticed a big difference in my husband Jon- and I love that we are a part of the Compass community.

Thinking of the community in my church example also leads me to think about how I can create community in my classroom as well.  And ultimately, I still figure it comes down to leadership.  If I, as the “leader” of the classroom don’t create an enviroment where small groups can discuss, support each other, and share life together, there is no way my classroom will be a community.  Our society is just not built for it or around it.  I think there is a time in the classroom to come together as a whole group and share in a community circle, but I also think that we underestimate the value of small groups.  Reggio Emilia (in Italy) bases their early childhood programs around small group learning experiences, and they are rated the number one early childhood schools in the world.  Can it be replicated in a place like North America?  I don’t know, but it’s something to think about, that’s for sure.

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One Response to “Community”

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The idea of community in all aspects of life is becoming quite a consuming theme for me. I’ve been fortunate to experience both as a child and now as an adult. Community for me lies in my work place, professional life online, my neighbours, church and friends. But I even look at my children and are concerned with their ability to find as much community as I have.

I think as educators, we owe it to kids to show them how to work together and play together, live and learn together. Our schools have pockets of this usually in extra curricular activities but not so much in our classrooms. As a result, many of our students are not connected and thus aren’t the ones giving back to their communities and churches and volunteering.

I’m adamant about our need to focus on this intentionally, not just in theory but in practice. My post about physical design is a practical way to start that sends a clear message to everyone that we need each other.

Reggio Emilia is the kind of idea and format that needs to be explored not simply in early childhood but throughout. Not sure why we see the need to strip out those ideas as children age. It’s sad and wrong.

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