Activity time: 5 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Newsprint, markers, and tape
Preparation for Activity
- Write "Covenant" at the top of a sheet of newsprint, and post.
Description of Activity
Creating a covenant empowers the children to take responsibility for their individual and collective behavior, and helps create a safe place for learning.
Indicate the newsprint you have posted and ask if anyone knows what a covenant is. Affirm that it is a promise. Explain that the group will list some promises everyone will make to help create a positive learning environment where everybody is cared for and safe and where we are guided by love. Ask:
- What will help this group be a place where everyone feels safe, everyone feels welcome, and everyone is able to learn and have fun?
- What should we promise to do, or not to do?
Write suggestions on newsprint. If you need to prompt the group, suggest listening to one another other, including everybody in activities, sharing, taking turns, helping one another, keeping our hands to ourselves, or being kind. Whenever possible, help participants reframe "don'ts" such as "don't insult others," "don't hit," or "don't lie" as their opposite, desirable behaviors such as "use kind words," "respect each other's need for safety," or "be honest." When all the ideas are on newsprint, have the group, including co-leaders, choose the most important promises. These should include listening to one another, keeping our hands to ourselves, and including everybody.
Have everyone sign their name on the covenant, including co-leaders, and post it in the room. As new children or adults join the group they should sign the covenant, too. You can say:
When you sign the covenant, it means you agree to promise the rest of us that you will follow it.
Assure participants that if anyone in the group ever feels that the promises in the covenant are being broken, they can talk to a leader, who will make sure the matter is addressed.
Note: Keep this exercise brief. If children are not engaging in the process, be sure the most important rules are included and then move on to the next activity.