Lower School Determines Promises for Academic Year

By Kari Miller, Head of the Lower School

The beginning of the school year in the Lower School means time spent getting to know one another, sharing hopes and dreams, and discussing expectations. Teachers purposefully plan activities not just the first week of school, and the entire year of school creating classrooms where all students are welcomed, supported, and accepted. This happens through activities and discussions, and children practice routines and have a voice in setting expectations. Each Lower School class creates their own unique list of classroom expectations such as raising your hand to speak and listening to directions the first time.  These expectations are shared with families and posted in the classroom.


Following the creation of the classroom expectations, the class representatives convene to find common themes and phrases that lend themselves to the broader Lower School Promises, which pertains to the entire Lower School. The discussions with the children during this meeting emphasizes what members of our community must do so we can feel supported by one another each day.

The final step in our beginning of the year expectations process is ratification of the Lower School Promises.  Students in kindergarten through grade five gather in the Ann Barshinger Center for Performing Arts. During this lively meeting, each Lower School Promise is read and the grades are asked to stand and say “aye” to show their support of each promise.

Setting expectations with children in a collaborative environment is a cornerstone of the Lower School. Throughout the year, these expectations are re-visited to solidify their importance. I am proud of the work that the students have done in the early weeks of school to create our expectations and the active process where student ideas are valued and implemented.

The Lower School Promises of 2018-2019 are:

  • We listen to each other.
  • We act safely and keep each other safe.
  • We are respectful to everyone.
  • We are responsible and show integrity.
  • We treat others the way we want to be treated.
  • YCDS community members support and encourage each other.