levar michaelAn important aspect of educational enrichment is the capacity of students to positively engage with one another and cultivate a strong sense of communal attachment and social awareness. These attributes are the building blocks to developing a responsible and proactive citizenry. Like many City Neighbors Hamilton students, our little one was overly excited to begin this new school year as a first-grader. While to her the summer was long and absent of the friendly educators and staff she has become accustom to, that solitary disposition was alleviated by a constant engagement with her community, CNH friends, and classmates throughout the summer. Whether by participating in play-dates, running into each other at local events, or having fun at the Swan Lake pool, many of our CNH children stayed actively involved in local activities which helped to strengthen their attachment to our community and one another.

While reflecting on the importance of this type of social and community bonding, it quickly dawned on me just how important it is for our children to participate in this type of civic engagement in order to grow a firm understanding of others and the many diverse aspects of society. When we develop an appreciation for the community and people around us, we then become more inclined to support and advocate on behalf of those communities and people. But while it is important to grow interpersonal communal attachments, it is also important to supplement that with a healthy dose of civic and historical perspective. After all, how will our children become the change-makers we want them to be if they have no historical perspective or understanding of societal power structures?

It was this curiosity which led me to inquire about the civic and social education of our children when conversing with Ms. LaShawn during Meet the Teacher day. I was excited to hear that history and civics was a priority and there was a plan to have elements incorporated into the first-grade curriculum. Moreover, Ms. LaShawn also plans to include walks to the local library and reading sessions with senior citizens at Oak Crest Retirement Community. I believe this is a great first step toward exposing our children to the society around them and the components of what forms a strong community. If there was ever an example of the consequences inflicted upon a society which lacks civic and historical perspective, it would be the times we are currently living in now. Recently, Max Boot of the Washington Post wrote an article entitled, America’s ignorance of history is a national scandal . He does an amazing job highlighting the societal pitfalls associated with not knowing or understanding history. As the famous quote states, “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.” This is why it fills my heart with joy to know that our CNH students, thanks to awesome teachers, are on the path to becoming responsible, knowledgeable, and altruistic young citizens.

LeVar Michael, Parent, City Neighbors Hamilton