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LEU Reflections on Friendship and Freedom

“A day without a friend is like a pot without a single drop of honey left inside.”

– Winnie-the-Pooh

On Friday, March 13, 2020, MBTS closed its doors and the school’s students, parents and teachers faced uncertain, unprecedented times as COVID 19-lockdown commenced. No one could foresee that a year on, many countries around the world would be in their second or even third lockdown, and that Cayman would be one of only a handful of countries to remain COVID-free, allowing us the freedom to live a normal life that has been denied to many.

This has led to much reflection in the LEU class, and the students have spent time thinking about the last year, reflecting on what we are all grateful for, as well as remembering what lockdown was like for all of us and whether there is anything that we miss about our lockdown experiences. Shared below are some of their reflections.

What students miss about lockdown:

  • “I miss spending more time with my brothers.”
  • “I miss spending time with my family”
  • “I miss seeing my sister and I miss hugging my mum during the day.”
  • “I miss the time I went scootering on the road with my family. I loved that time with my family.”
  • “I miss lockdown because I did not have to go to school.”
  • “I got to sleep in during lockdown.”

Why students are grateful for school:

  • “I get to see my friends.”
  • “I’m grateful to see my friends because I can play with them.”
  • “So I can learn stuff and get a good job in the future.”
  • “SO I CAN SEE MY FRIENDS!!!!”
  • “Because I can see my friends.”
  • “So I can see my friends and have playtime.”
  • “We are fortunate that we can go to school to learn because other people cannot.”

What students wish for the future:

  • “To go to NYC!”
  • “NO MORE CORONA! Because I want to travel and see more of my family.”
  • “My wish is that Corona would go away so I can travel to Canada so I can see my brother and enjoy the snow.”
  • “That I can travel and see my family.”
  • “I wish the world could open again so I can see my family.”
  • “I wish the border would open so we could travel.”
  • “My wish is that I could go to Canada to see my family.”
  • “I wish I could go to Orlando with no lockdown.”
  • “I want to go to NYC again so I can go to the American Girl Store!”
  • “For COVID to stop so that I can see my Nana, Granda and cousins.”

It was mentioned time and time again how grateful the children are to come to school because they could see their friends every day and play with them.

With this insight into the importance of friendship in mind, students deliberately took time to work with their closest friends for part of the work cycle this week. Afterwards, we discussed the importance of friendship and what qualities are needed to be a good friend. We also discussed what may not have worked so well when working with our close friends, and what the children could do to solve any issues.

Developing the maturity and ability to make thoughtful, positive choices when choosing work partners in class takes time and guidance. To this end, we introduced the idea of “Positive Partners” over the last term, where students are guided to work with another specific child for a certain subject or area of the classroom. This additional guidance has proven to be helpful to many children, not just in helping solidify the qualities of a positive work partner but also in facilitating opportunities to make connections outside of their usual friendships. Even though they may not be working with their closest friends, the LEU students have embraced this opportunity to branch out and apply teamwork and social skills to new situations. It has been gratifying to see different dynamics in action and new friendships being formed.

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