In a lifestyle dominated by technology, kids are spending less and less time interacting with people. Pace Academy has made it their mission to promote healthy interactions for children through the connections they make with each other and the other people on campus.
One of the reasons so many of Pace Academy’s kids become more socially and emotionally developed is because they dedicate time to communicate with their students — it’s not just a delivery of information. It’s an interaction that teachers have with the students and it’s more than just academics.
In order to thrive in a people-filled world, children must develop people skills. The only way to develop these skills is through interacting with peers, teachers, parents, and other community members. Pace Academy likes to guide their student body through conflict resolution, coping with disappointment and managing change.
One example of how they advocate healthy communication between friends is encouraging healthy interactions on the playground, especially since at Pace Academy, there is more recess every day than at the average public school. This time to play includes at least one hour a day every day for every student.
Pace Academy’s students have the opportunity to manage social situations that involve sharing, kindness, graciousness, showing compassion, and patience. Education is a journey and every child is given the support to improve socially and emotionally.
For the first year-and-a-half the school was open, Pace Academy had a teacher who taught children how to play. She taught them how to jump rope, how to hula hoop, how to organize games among themselves, and how to more equitably decide what game to play next. These were skills that children had never used before attending Pace — and skills that many kids still lack.
In class there are always opportunities to help students grow. One favorite lesson that Principal Robin Wilson-Clipson remembers being posted on her refrigerator as a child, is: before you speak your words should go through three gates. Gate one: Is it true? Gate two: Is it necessary? Gate three: Is it kind?
Sometimes growth for children includes them finding acceptable ways of saying “no.” Children sometimes find it difficult to express their wants because they are taught that good manners mean they must not be “sassy.” The desire should be for children to be both well-mannered and to have autonomy. Instead of saying “no,” teach children to kindly explain their desires. For example, “I’m too full to continue to eat, and I’m going to save this portion for later.”
By implementing these simple aspects into their day-to-day activities, Pace Academy helps children find their voice and aims to develop competent, confident, and caring individuals.