Orientation at SGS: Community Building through Challenge and Play

by Ariel, Student Support Specialist

At SGS we work intentionally to design an orientation week that centers community building. We recognize that students and adults alike can have some back-to-school anxieties and orientation week is a period of transition. With that in mind, we take time to laugh, move, and connect. 
At SGS we believe all learning happens in relationship to others, so encouraging students to share and celebrate who they are as well as creating opportunities for them to connect with each other and work together are at the heart of orientation. Here are just a few examples of how this shows up in each grade level: 

5th Grade - 5th Grade students designed and created masks to represent what is important to them. As a collective group, they supported each other through the artistic process and the challenge to introduce their mask through a speech. At the same time, each mask is as unique as the individual student who designed it. 

6th Grade - The culmination of the 6th Grade orientation is the go-kart race. Students worked in teams to design and construct a go-kart. To introduce themselves as a team, each student wrote and delivered a “nice to meet ya” speech, in which they shared a little bit about themselves and their values. To get their kart through the obstacle course, teams had to work together. Even as karts fell apart or didn’t travel in the intended way, teams stuck together until the end of the course. 

7th Grade - 7th Grade students worked together to solve the “Zoom In, Zoom Out” puzzle in which they had to communicate to effectively line up their pieces in the correct order without seeing what others have. They also worked in teams to complete a virtual escape room by solving riddles, codes, and other challenges.  

8th Grade - 8th Grade students had some unstructured time each day, which allowed them to slow down, play, and connect. Beyond that, they took a trip to Seattle Bouldering Project where they got to work in groups to take on challenges, support each other, and generally hang out on the mat together!

Located in the Central District, Seattle Girls' School is an independent school for girls and gender nonconforming students in grades 5-8. Our mission is to inspire and develop courageous leaders who think independently, work collaboratively, learn joyfully, and champion change.