By Andrew Ippel (NCAI SOAAR Coordinator)
For many students, making friends at school is an easy endeavor. They don’t need an additional course on “friendship” alongside of math, science, reading, and writing. For some, however, building healthy, positive friendships at school can be a difficult task. Through the SOAAR Program (Student of All Abilities Recognized) at NCA International, nearly 30 students in first through fourth grade are currently participating in the Circle of Friends Program, a program to promote Christ-centered inclusion, respect, and positive social climate in the classrooms at NCA.
Students are chosen at the beginning of the school year by classroom teachers, forming groups of six children that can benefit being a part of the group with their various gifts, strengths, and needs. Some groups are developed as a social support tool for one or two particular students in the classroom, but all students benefit from learning and growing together as a micro-community of the larger classroom. Groups meet once a week during recess for a time of sharing, problem-solving, game playing, and social skill development.
Our theme for this school year are the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22), and how those fruits can be displayed in the way we interact with our friends throughout the school day. Students leave each session with a “Play It Forward” challenge--an activity they must complete over the course of the week that promotes social interaction and friendships outside of the Circle of Friends. We are thankful to see children at Nicaragua Christian Academy have the opportunity to be a part of a Christ-honoring inclusive school community!
Published on November 16, 2017. Written by Andrew Ippel. Photos by Andrew Ippel.