Students grades 6 to 12 are divided into small groups for Neighbor Groups that meet each Tuesday for 20 minutes. The goal is to create a safe and familiar space for discussing school-wide issues, personal concerns, and current events. The teacher or students take turns bringing in snack… an important element of the time together!
Sometimes, Neighbor Group is just fun. Sometimes it’s serious. Often, there is prayer. Maria Archer, K-8 principal, provides prompts for leaders to get discussions started. Samples include:
- What does respect look like between students? Between student and teacher. Between teacher and teacher?
- What role does a bystander play in situations of bullying? What role could one play?
- How much time do you spend on a screen each day? Have you ever used an app to track that time? What role do you want technology to play in your life? How does technology use affect a community?
Often, leaders use a circle process to facilitate conversation. Participants face each other and pass a "talking piece." Only the person with the talking piece may talk; others listen. Participants can "pass" when the piece comes to them if they aren't comfortable sharing. Everyone has a chance to be heard.
By using the circle process in Neighbor Groups, the format is familiar and comfortable when it is used as part of restorative discipline processes or if a group needs to work through a conflict.