“We are crew, not passengers.”
I recall when I first became a Lead Teacher at DAA, and we learned about Crew. I thought, “Wow! This is just like how I facilitate my morning meeting, but BETTER!” I used a structure, similar to crew that included a morning greeting, a share, an activity, a debrief, and a morning message. Through morning meetings, I was confident that I was starting our day off on the right foot, and that students were building community through activities and sharing. However, what I didn’t realize when I began teaching was just how valuable a daily morning meeting was to the social and emotional development of a child.
What is Crew Culture? According to EL Education, “Crew is a ritual, a coming together, and the creation of a close-knit student community. An integral part of the EL Education model, each school in our network brings students together in a consistent and supportive group. Crew is a place where character education, adventure, and team building are intentional, assuring success for all students. It’s a structure that fosters a sense of belonging within students, and a place where they can be their best selves while lifting up their peers to achieve more than they think possible.”
The motto We Are Crew, Not Passengers is shared amongst student crews as well as adult crews across the EL network. Being apart of a crew means you have a team to work together with to solve problems, and depend on. A crew encourages one another, compliments each other’s faults and strengths, and pushes everyone in the crew to achieve great things! As with all schools, kids move and change schools for various reasons. When a new student comes to DAA, Crew is a vital resource to share an inclusive community where everyone feels welcome and cared for. To build that inclusive community, it is so very beneficial to incorporate moments for students to laugh together, build trust, and practice communication and social skills. This will lead to students eventually sharing personal things about themselves that make them unique and special, students being vulnerable to discuss challenges in order to address and overcome them, and even spark new friendships!
Crew gives students opportunities to practice social interactions and to be apart of a community where they can feel safe to be themselves and take risks to grow and succeed. By nurturing students social emotional skills during this time, we can help learners to manage emotions better, effectively communicate with others, and build a communal environment where all crew members feel safe and welcome.