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 it where you can write on it while leading a discussion.
- Designate an adult to take home the newsprint after the session to compile a covenant document for children and co-leaders to sign. The covenant-signing activity is guided in Session 2, Conscience: Hearing the Inner Voice. If your group will not do Session 2, review Session 2, Activity 1, Signing the Behavior Covenant now, and plan to take five minutes for everyone to sign the covenant next time Moral Tales meets.
Description of Activity
Creating a covenant empowers the children in Moral Tales to take responsibility for their individual and collective behavior. In addition, the covenant helps you create a safe place for learning.
Tell the children that their time in Moral Tales is a lot like the web they just created with yarn. You may say:
When we are together, each one of us is tugging on the yarn and everyone feels the effects. Sometimes those are good effects and sometimes they can be hurtful to other people or make it hard to learn.
Indicate the newsprint you have posted and ask if any of the children know what a "covenant" is. If they do not know, tell them it is a promise. Explain that the group will make a list of the sorts of behaviors which will help create a positive learning environment. You may ask:
- What kind of behaviors will help our Moral Tales group be a place where everyone feels safe, everyone feels welcome, and everyone is able to learn and have fun?
Write on the newsprint children's suggestions. If you need to prompt the group, you may suggest listening to one another other, including everybody, sharing, taking turns, helping one another, keeping our hands to ourselves, or kindness. Whenever possible, help the children reframe "don'ts" such as "don't insult others," "don't steal," or "don't lie" as their opposite, desirable behaviors such as using kind words, respecting property, or honesty.
When ideas have stopped flowing or the list seems complete, tell the children that their suggestions will be included in a group behavior covenant that everyone in Moral Tales can sign, next time the group meets. Tell them that even co-leaders will sign the covenant. You can say:
When you sign the covenant, it means you agree to promise the rest of us that you will follow it.
Assure the children 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 resolved.
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.