Kelly’s Korner: Multidivisional Partnerships

Mar 16, 2018

From the desk of Lower School Director Kelly Banik

Multidivisional Partnerships — Both Large and Small Scale

Saturday, March 17 brings an exciting event at Moorestown Friends School; over 150 students from all three divisions will come together in song for our Choir Showcase. Third and fourth graders, as well as Middle and Upper School students, will gather on campus at 11 a.m. to rehearse, eat lunch, get to know each other, and finally perform together in a movie-themed celebration.

Not all multidivisional partnerships are as large scale as the Choir Showcase. Academic Technology Coordinator Diana Day recently visited our first grade classes to introduce the students to 3D printing. As part of a first grade study of snow, Ms. Day and some Upper School students helped the first graders digitize snowflake drawings. Each digitized drawing was then produced on the 3D printer.

While first graders were knee deep in their snow study, Ms. Barber’s kindergarteners worked with fifth graders to plant kale in the indoor garden. Middle and Upper School Science Teacher Andrea Robinson met with kindergarteners to share about the indoor and outdoor gardens and create a plan to plant radishes in the spring.  Mrs. Barber’s kindergarteners may even add their own creation to the outdoor garden–a fairy house!

Fostering School Spirit Across All Age Groups

Building school spirit and a supportive community are important goals of all multidivisional partnerships, but arguably no program creates more cross-divisional school spirit than our Lower School Adopt-a-Team Program.  Each season, LS classes are invited to adopt a varsity sports team. Teams visit their adoptive classes, share news about the season’s highlights, and teach Lower Schoolers a bit about their sport. Class parents organize an opportunity for a class to take in a game or two so students can root on their adoptive team. Check out Ms. Bowditch’s kindergarten class cheering the Varsity Girls’ Soccer Team to victory. The kindergarteners must have been a good luck charm, because the girls’ soccer team won the state championship!

On any given day at MFS, you will likely find an Upper School student working in a Lower School classroom. Why?  Because more than 35 US students have given up their study halls (and sometimes even lunch periods) to be assigned as a Teacher’s Aide in a Lower School classroom for the school year. Through these regular class visits, Upper School students gain celebrity status with our youngest students and reap the benefits of doing regular service in their community. Imagine the feeling of fulfillment Upper School students must have when they volunteer in a Lower School classroom where they once benefited from working with an Upper School teacher’s aide.

Not to be outdone by the Upper Schoolers, this year the Middle School Student Government designed and instituted a Lower School Buddy program with Prekindergarten and Kindergarten classes. During an activity period once a rotation, about 20 Middle School students engage some of our youngest students in literacy and art projects designed by the older students.

Whether through a cross-divisional curricular project, Teachers’ Aide/Buddy program, or the adoption of a sports team, multidivisional partnerships and experiences are a unique and memorable part of an MFS education!

Kelly Banik has served as the Lower School Director at Moorestown Friends School since 2005 and oversees Preschool – Grade 4. In addition to her administrative work, Kelly has taught at the elementary, middle, undergraduate, and graduate levels. For over 20 years she has worked with educators on topics including curriculum design/mapping, instructional methods, classroom management, and professional growth. She has completed all coursework for a Ph.D. from the University of Delaware, has an M.A. in Cognition and Instruction from the University of Delaware, and has a B.A. from Drew University. For more information, see her bio here

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