Over this academic year, one of my biggest goals came to fruition. I was able to get five other families to join ours in delivering a health curriculum to our 1st and 2nd grade students. Yesterday was the final session out of five, and the group has come together as a community. This village is helping me be a better parent, and it is broadening Rose’s learning far more than if we had just done this work alone.
The families came from different parts of our lives, and they did not know each other at the initial parent meeting. Some families at that meeting decided that this was not what they wanted, and other families that had been interested did not have the time to commit to this endeavor. It turns out we didn’t either, but we managed to push a 9 session curriculum into 5 meetings. Interestingly, we ended up with all girls in this group even though some families with boys had been invited.
We covered bodies, feelings, families, and birth among other topics, but some of the most interesting topics came out of the anonymous question box. The initial design for the curriculum had parents and children separated, but we only did that the first time. After that we were all in the room for each session. The initial plans and vision were merely a starting point, and what we evolved fit our needs far better. It was an amazing, collaborative effort.
I modified lessons from the Our Whole Lives curriculum for K-1 students. With our children being a bit older, some of the material was no longer relevant or developmentally appropriate. The question box supplied other topics that were relevant.
Most sessions started with a review of the guidelines for how we talked as a group. We then answered question box questions. Next we dove into an OWL lesson which usually involved a short discussion, a story, and an art activity. Not every session made it through all of these things. Often, we would hang out afterwards and have dinner together. Many families have a younger sibling, and I hope we can continue this work together when they are ready.
Now that this session is over, I am so happy to have done it, but I am also surprised at how much energy went into just leading 5 sessions with a better than 1:1 ratio of adults to children. I believe and hope that the children and the parents benefited from coming together to do this; I know I have.