First and second graders have been examining what makes a community. Beginning last fall, parents and other community members came and spoke to Friends School of Minnesota’s first and second grade classrooms about their jobs and roles within our communities. After learning and writing about these jobs, students examined the community around FSM through walks focused on transportation, architecture, and green spaces. Through this process, students chose a committee that they would like to be on to create a model of a community. Students chose from transportation, recreation, nature, safety and medical, stores and services, and housing committees.

Each committee held a town hall meeting to address important issues about their committee and to hear feedback from community members. During the town hall meetings, students addressed the committee and their fellow community members and made statements such as:

  • “ The fire station should be close to houses.”
  • “We should have a natural disaster relief center so people can have help if they need it.”
  • “I would like a spoke and wheel design so I can look at something beautiful while as I drive.”  “We should not have businesses and houses mix so people don’t have to live next to a dump site.”
  • “We should have trees where there are no houses.”
  • “We should have one school, one library, and one museum.”

Using mixed media, students then created a table-top model of their community. They included their own houses and worked with their committee to create buildings, structures natural features, and other items based on their committee’s plans and priorities.

Friends School of Minnesota first and second graders explored "what makes a community" and then constructed a model of their ideal.
Friends School of Minnesota first and second graders explored “what makes a community” and then constructed a model of their ideal.

The community unit is a wonderful way for young students to deepen their understanding of this core Quaker value!

–Alissa Abelson, First and Second Grade Teacher

Read more about the biennial community workers unit in teacher Sally’s 2011 post: What is Community?