All Are Welcome!

Recently, the main entrance of Adam Robertson Elementary School (ARES) was filled with staff self-portraits, all created using a variety of techniques and supplies.

Part of the “Circle of Courage” philosophy involves taking risks and modeling bravery, which the staff definitely did. Students were challenged to guess which portrait belonged to who, and for several weeks, the main entrance was occupied by students determined to identify the mystery pictures and enter their guesses in the daily draw.

Of course, this staff activity had a purpose and was the beginning of a much larger event. Although most of us do not view ourselves as artists, we wanted to emphasize the importance of being courageous, taking risks, and making efforts to learn, regardless of ability. On May 10, in a large school-wide activity, it was our hope that students would participate with the same type of determination.

We began the day with the primary classes attending their first assembly in the gym. Mr. Adams read the book “All Are Welcome” by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman, a story centered around the acceptance of all people. Then, the younger students met their older buddies to begin the activities.

Outside, they worked together on a People Search Scavenger Hunt, which was a chance to mingle with other students, while searching for specific characteristics in people they may not have engaged with before. As they handed in their completed sheets, the Parent Advisory Council generously provided Freezies, before they headed inside for an afternoon of art – an opportunity to create their own self-portraits.

These large-scale activities help to connect the staff and students and are intended to inspire imagination and leadership. The event also aligned well with the Circle of Courage model, which we try to incorporate into all that we do at ARES.

The Circle of Courage is centered around four universal needs of all children: Belonging, Mastery, Independence, and Generosity. Children grow and thrive when all four of these needs are met. However, when one or more of these four components are missing, challenges arise. The Circle of Courage philosophy is important at ARES, because it focuses on building strengths, believing that all children have the potential to succeed, and that adults can support this growth. Strengths help people cope with life’s challenges, which is an essential component of resilience. Rather than worrying about limitations and deficits, the goal is to create experiences that lead to positive outcomes. Our long-term vision at ARES is to support the development of resilient children who can thrive in any community.

You can also see this article in the Creston Valley Advance.


Darryl Adams | Principal