On a cold, icy Saturday morning last December, BASIS Independent McLean
students, parent liaisons and teachers delivered hand-crafted donations to Fairfax County Animal Shelter.
“We made the blankets and beds, it was fun and took a lot of time. I liked giving to the animals,” said fourth grader Gunner.
This was the culmination of a month-long exploration of the theme of gratitude and part of a community building exercise at BASIS Independent McLean. As a new school, the students here have known each other for only a few short months, so one way we build our community is by creating common experiences that reflect our shared values.
“We want students to have a holistic education, to care about each other individually, and be the best selves that they can be. We want to give them experiences to think about all the facets of being a human being,” said Primary School Dean, Ms. Colleen Crable. Her goal was to start with the primary program, preschool through grade four, and grow from there.
In December, the team selected the theme of gratitude. Gratitude was first introduced in a mini-lesson that served as a jumping off point for continued conversations and activities with students. They read a book on gratitude and wrote gratitude statements on paper water drops, posting them around the school.
As the concept gained steam, deans and teachers brainstormed ideas with students to give back to the community outside of the school. They committed to donating to an animal shelter and selected Fairfax County Animal Shelter.
In Connections class students incorporated art, engineering, math, and creativity to make dog and cat treats, dog beds and cat toys. “I helped the kindergarten students with making the blankets and first graders with beds,” said fourth grader Kaavya. “Gratitude to me means to be nice and thankful for what you have.”
“The experience of giving to the animal shelter and animals in need was most fulfilling,” dean Crable said. “Students still talk about the experience, and we will build on this with future projects to create a culture that supports our core value to make improvements.”
BASIS Independent McLean is a preschool-12th grade private school located in Tysons. To learn more about our acclaimed liberal arts and science program, please register for an upcoming informational event. We are currently accepting applications for the 2017-18 school year on a rolling basis (Rolling Admissions).