Farmington Police Chief Kevin Willey learned more about the seven habits for happy kids from these third grade students who were playing a game which incorporated the concepts Monday as part of the Leader in Me program at Valley View Community School in Farmington. (JOHN QUINN PHOTO)
Elementary students in Farmington offered seven habits of healthy kids
Principal Cynthia Sparks said the school, which educates students in kindergarten through grade 3, was the only school in the state to receive the three-year grant last in July from the I Am A Leader Foundation.
Sparks said the school received a $43,000 grant to train the staff the first year and could receive about $9,000 to review the program next year.
Sparks and a team of staffers, including art teacher Kimberly J.B. Smith, third grade teachers Pam Skeffington and Cindy Hunn, first grade reacher Wanda Pelkey and reading specialist Carol O.Connell, worked closely to organize the program throughout the year.
Teachers would introduce one of the seven habits and the entire school would spend a month re-enforcing it with students.
O'Connell said Monday's presentation, which took two weeks of preparation and rehearsing, was a product of all the hard work of teachers, staff and students. She added that all of the presentations, tours and explanations were entirely student-led.
Third graders Kylie Locke, 8, and Cole Bedard, 9, both of Farmington, were two students who acted as tour guides for the visitors, which included members of the school board, town officials, parents and volunteers.
Cole Bedard said they had to overcome a little anxiety, especially since they were guiding around Police Chief Kevin Willey. Cole said he eventually became more confident as they had to get visitors around the school and back to the library before classes ended for the day.
"It's character — it's not just academics," Merriman said.
Former Selectman Paul Parker, who serves on the planning board, said the program is a great opportunity for the community and for a district that has two other schools that received School in Need of Improvement (SINI) grants.
Jessica Cowan, of Farmington, who will soon be taking over as president of the Parent-Teacher Association, agreed that the program is great for the community.
Cowan said the habits encourage students — including her son Joseph Nolan, 8 who is a second — to do their homework and be responsible, even if they grumble about it from time to time.