Gratitude classes run year round at Momentous School in Dallas – CBS Dallas / Fort Worth

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Gratitude is timely in the lead-up to Thanksgiving.

And yet, at Oak Cliff’s Momentous School, appreciation classes are taught alongside academics throughout the year.

“It really has magical power,” says director Daniel Knoll.

“When students work together, a student can show them how to solve a problem in a way that they may not have known how to do before. And the kid says “thank you”, “thank you for teaching me something”, it just deepens that relationship with each other and that level of respect and care. “

In other words: emotions matter.

“When my friends say ‘thank you’, it makes me happy,” says Amy, a 6-year-old freshman.

“When students notice and care about each other, they are able to deepen their learning in ways that they wouldn’t do if they didn’t know how to appreciate each other. “

So while “circle time” is common to set the tone for the day in many schools, at Momentous School staff members go above and beyond to show that emotions matter.

“We say hello to each other, like hello,” says Amy. “We breathe. “

This is all part of an intentional effort to train good scholars and good little humans, by teaching gratitude.

“We’ve learned to be kind and grateful,” shares Lauren, 6, then with a thoughtful pause, “and responsible.”

When asked why they were grateful, the students’ responses were both expected and surprising.

“I’m grateful to my mom because she does everything for me,” says Isaiah, who is 6, before adding that her mom “smiles and she laughs” when he remembers to show her gratitude.

Matthew, a 7-year-old, says he’s grateful to his parents “because we have movie nights on Fridays, and we play board games together and we play hide and seek.”

Amy said she was also “grateful for my dad for playing dominoes with me and helping me learn new numbers.”

Surprising by the responses of the students? None mentioned a toy, device or technology. They all seemed to cherish the gift of time. And principals help them learn to be intentional in both giving and receiving appreciation.

“The kind words are ‘I love you’ and ‘you are the best friend,'” says Matthew, “and you’re doing really well.”

Students write kind words and what they are grateful for on sheets that are placed on a special “gratitude tree” in Ms. Ytem’s class to teach language skills and life lessons with lasting impact.

“I think the silver bullet – meeting the immediate needs, reading and math skills that students desperately need – if we don’t build a solid foundation of who we are as people, we’ll find these gaps to grow taller.” as the kids get older, ”says Knoll. “And at the end of the day, we need them to know how to do both: we need them to know how to be nice and how to solve math problems. We need them to be able to do both.

And with the imagination of an educator – some would call it hope – Knoll sees only a benefit if all children learn to be both grateful and kind.

“I think we would have a world where people listen to each other more, and I think we could all use a little more, these days.”

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