Every Friday at International Charter School the students in the after school program are entitled to a free day. There is no required time for math homework or literacy homework; the students are given the opportunity to engage in fun activities that range from team building exercises to creating dream-catchers.
One Friday in October, in preparation for Thanksgiving, the children created a “Tree of Thanks.” In a large group, the after school teachers and children sat together and decorated fall themed decorations on which we wrote our thankful sentiments, such as pumpkins and fall-colored leaves. The sentiments were diverse, however they all began with the same words, “I am thankful for…” While there were a few sentiments dedicated to how thankful children were for eating candy and playing video games, most students seemed to write about what they thought was more important. One student, who has an Individualized Educational Program, wrote how thankful he was for his good education and helpful teachers. Another, who lost his parents, wrote about how thankful he was to be alive. As I stepped back and read all of these thankful sentiments from the students at ICS, I realized that being a child isn’t so carefree all the time. We can learn more from these children than Expected, and I intend to learn as much as I can while I am lucky enough to work with them as a CharterCorps member.