How Can You Be an Ally?

The latest unit in the Lower School's revitalized Social Emotional Learning curriculum touches upon a theme that is close to the hearts of many at this time of year: allies. In fact, students first tackled the concept at the assembly honoring Martin Luther King Jr. — including how to be an ally, what an ally does and famous examples of allies throughout history.
"During the MLK assembly, the girls were introduced to the word 'ally' in the context of MLK and the work he was able to do given how many powerful and 'everyday people' allies he had," says Lower School Counselor Jessica Nenner, who is spearheading this year's efforts alongside LS Art Teacher Yara Herman and Kindergarten Teacher Dynelle Chan.
 
As part of this examination, students have filled out paper leaves with the actions of allies they have witnessed (pictured), which now adorn a tree on a wall of the Lunchroom. The girls also watched a puppet show that demonstrated a potential scenario in which an ally might be needed, and were then asked a few questions — including whether they spotted a way to be an ally that wasn't depicted in the video. "It's important to reinforce the idea that it's not just a huge gesture or standing up for someone that makes you an ally," Nenner says. "There are lots of little ways to be an ally too."
 
We've uploaded a video of the puppet show, we invite you to watch it and ask your daughter some questions. Those might include:
 
  1. What did you think about the puppet show?
  2. Who was the ally?
  3. What does it mean to be an ally to a classmate?
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Burke's mission is to educate, encourage and empower girls. Our school combines academic excellence with an appreciation for childhood so that students thrive as learners, develop a strong sense of self, contribute to community, and fulfill their potential, now and throughout life.

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7070 California Street, San Francisco, CA 94121
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