JP Kids: Mission Hill K-8 students share their lessons

JP SOUTH—Every Friday morning, Jamaica Plain’s new school, the Mission Hill K-8, invites parents and community members in to see what the kids are learning in “Friday Share.”

The whole school turns out to sing, watch and listen, along with teachers and about two dozen parents, usually, Principal Ayla Gavins said.

“Coming together each week was the idea of our school founder, Deborah Meier. Taking time to learn from each other, see what students are learning, sing together and provide opportunities for public speaking are reasons we do this each week,” Gavins told the Gazette.

Visitors who call ahead are welcome to Friday Share and usually receive a tour of the school or participate in a discussion group following. The Gazette was invited to visit Gavins’s 200 students on Oct. 5.

Seventh- and eighth-graders were learning about exercise’s impact on the body. Two students shared what each of them had looked at. One had focused on the role oxygen plays during exercise, while the other studied the effect of exercise on muscles.

Fourth-graders chose a class name—“The Golden Rulers,” espousing their desire to treat each other respectfully—and showed off signs they had made. First- and second-graders showed what else they saw in optical illusions, holding up drawings that filled in spaces or extended the original image.

“Students share their work of things they have learned,” Gavins said. “Things that students present range from songs to math work to art to dance to writing or favorite books read.”

Mission Hill teachers and students have been keeping up the tradition since the school started 16 years ago. The community-building between the students, parents and teachers is a crucial element, Gavins said.

“We hope that the community will enjoy the experience and learn just like the rest of us,” she said.

The assembly wrapped up with reading “Acts of Kindness” out loud. There is a box in the library where anyone can submit cards describing acts of kindness they’ve witnessed, to recognize the individuals responsible. Children were praised for helping put away toys and for “carrying tricycles, sometimes two at a time” when new furniture was delivered to a classroom.

The Mission Hill School started in Mission Hill and moved to its current home at 20 Child St. this summer.

The Mission Hill K-8’s Friday Share happens every Friday at 9:45 a.m. The school can be reached at 617-635-6384.

(Gazette Photo by Rebeca Oliveira) Teacher Brenda Lau’s first- and second- graders shared what they learned about optical illusions last week.

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