Students Reflect on the Elections

On the heels of a notable election, teachable moments surfaced as students at Woodland School—a school where approximately half of all families have at least one member of the family born outside the United States—pored over the results. Rather than dodging questions or feelings regarding the election, Woodland students were encouraged to ask questions, engage in diplomatic discourse, and think deeply about current affairs. “At Woodland School, we believe every child has a voice,” says Head of School Marja Brandon. “We encourage students to use their voices, to ask questions, and discuss issues at hand, even the hard ones. What we have as a result, is a community that builds understanding for varying view points and one that honors its diversity and inclusivity.”

In the classrooms, several teachers encouraged students to write letters to President-Elect Donald Trump, explaining to him what they need from their next president. First-Grade Teacher Marie Keating introduced the letter-writing activity to her class. “The letter-writing activity demonstrated how aware our children are and how much we can learn from them,” said Keating. “What they wrote is nothing short of wisdom. I’m so proud of them.” One student wrote: “Dear Mr. Trump, You have been saying bad words and you should not say them. Please learn from your mistakes. Be sure to take care of all kids nicely. Congratulations. I hope you are nice to Hillary Clinton at your next birthday. I hope you will be a good president because being the President is important.”

The school plans to continue to discuss the democratic process and what that means. “Elections are just the beginning and only one part of a democratic process,” said Brandon. “We will continue to remind students daily, whether it is as they say the Pledge of Allegiance in the morning or have courageous conversations throughout their days, that they each have a voice if they choose to use it—and that this is what democracy is all about.”

Does your school do something similar?

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