Skip to main content
An Independent School in Littleton, MA serving Students Ages 15 Months–Grade 8

Accepting Applications for the 2024-2025 school year — Click here to get started.

Hello there

When students take personal responsibility for self and community

When students take personal responsibility for self and community

By Jay Scheurle |

“We agree!” all of the students in this elementary classroom called out in unison. The class had spent the last two weeks developing a “Charter,” an agreement developed by the students to create a classroom environment that will support how the students want to feel each day at school. Each student participated in discussions that led to the selection of words that best describes how they want to feel, what they will do to feel that way, and how they will make amends when mistakes are made.

Then this morning, the whole class took part in an exercise to review their Charter, verbally agree to each section by saying “we agree,” and then individually sign the document.

As I watched the students this morning, I kept thinking about how the Charter is such a powerful method for students to be self-motivated in forming a community made up of different individuals with diverse experiences and perspectives. Of course, there will be upsets and arguments and misunderstandings and hurt feelings during the year. That’s a natural part of life. Disagreements and conflicts are opportunities for learning, growing, developing new skills, and appreciating perspectives other than our own. The students in this classroom have created their Charter together, and they have pledged their support of this agreement by signing their name to the document. These young, growing students have taken an important step in learning to take responsibility for themselves and their relationships with each other.



In order to feel happy we will:

  • Share toys
  • Include others
  • Help others up when they fall
  • Clean up after ourselves
  • Say hi and bye to each other
  • Take turns
  • Let others go first
  • Have fun playing games
  • Make new friends

In order to feel motivated we will:

  • Concentrate on work
  • Try new things
  • Challenge ourselves
  • Cheer people on and tell each other that we can accomplish hard things

In order to feel mindful we will:

  • Push in chairs
  • Use walking feet
  • Use inside voice
  • Be aware of our surroundings
  • Organize and take care of materials
  • Have calm bodies and be safe
  • Take breaks when we need to
  • Stay on task
  • Listen to and care about others
  • Use kind words

In order to feel supported we will:

  • Help each other
  • Encourage others
  • Say “You can do it”
  • Ask for help

When we make a mistake we will:

  • Take responsibility
  • Give a meaningful apology
  • Ask how we can fix the problem, or tell the person how we will fix it
  • Ask for help from a teacher when we need it
  • Make a better choice next time