In addition to learning the basic academic lessons, Kilgore Primary School teachers and administrators are helping students understand the foundations of being a good friend.
The focus on friendship began on Unity Day in October when schools across the nation organized to combat bullying in their schools and bring awareness to what students across the country face. KPS marked the day by wearing orange shirts.
As part of Unity Day, teachers and administrators taught the students what bullying behavior looks like and how to spot a bully but, KPS counselor Gwen Black said, the pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten and first grade students are too young to really understand what bullying is. One way the school has worked to combat bullying is to teach the students how to be friends to each other.
“I know bullying is such a big word and everyone wants to say, ‘I’m being bullied,’ but we need to know exactly what that is,” she said. “Let’s teach them how to be a friend… We take [bullying] very seriously, but it could be just a little guy or girl and they don’t know yet how to be a friend and they’re learning their social skills.”
The teachers and students have kept the Unity Day lessons going throughout the year by continuing to discuss friendship in class and how to be a friend.
“We continue bully awareness, but focus on friendship skills,” Black said. “We reiterate that we are choosing to be kind and caring and respectful to our friends at KPS.”
The students also wear orange – the same color they wore during Unity Day – to school on the second Friday of each month. The school does not have a big program each month, Black said, but everyone at the campus is encouraged to wear orange on the day to remind themselves and each other “we are learning how to be a friend.”
“We just want to help our friends learn how to be a friend,” she said simply.