Taking the time to listen to one another and developing authentic relationships may seem like a lost art in these times of social media and text messaging, but last week Union fifth-graders came together as a community to "ignite" their interpersonal skills. It’s all part of a new workshop for elementary students called FUSE.
FUSE is an interactive experience provided by Changepoint Learning focused on strengthening empathy and kindness among students to support ongoing efforts for equity and anti-bullying. The FUSE program is a new workshop aimed at equipping upper elementary students with a foundation of people skills to last a lifetime.
The FUSE program aligns with Changepoint Learning’s ID Project (for Lakota junior high students) and Be the Difference (for Lakota high school students), and is geared toward the realities that children begin to experience at the elementary level.
Topics focus on learning more about one another with exercises such as “If you were my best friend you’d know…”, celebrating uniqueness with “Everybody is weird”, and calling out past hurts such as exclusion, stereotyping, and bullying. “One of the most powerful moments of the afternoon was when students had the chance to apologize to one another,” said Union Principal Ben Brown.
The FUSE program, like the ID Project and Be the Difference, brings the whole school community together, because it depends on volunteers and staff to facilitate the program.
“We have a high emphasis on academic growth and performance in Lakota, but we also care deeply about the whole child, the social-emotional experience,” said Brown. “As a district and as a school, we have ongoing efforts to provide students opportunities to express themselves as people, and to let our students know how much we care about them. This is just one of many systemic efforts to give our students the chance to slow down, unplug, and teach the value of looking someone in the eye and really listening.”