Hooray for offering popular and important programs at JUC! Right?
Except….it isn’t always easy to find enough room for those popular and important programs.
Case in point: 7th grade OWL -- the Our Whole Lives sexuality curriculum.
Dede and Mike Cross have taught OWL for several years (thank them when you see them!). For several years now, the class has been bursting at the seams with regular attendance of 18 to 24 7th graders. It’s not so bad, Dede says, when they’re in a big circle in their room in the Mills Building, although on days when absolutely everyone is there, it can be hard for everyone to see everyone else. What’s even more challenging, she says, is when they divide into small breakout groups. It can get very noisy, making it hard to hear each other. And they are often talking about intimate topics, so yelling is not the preferred voice level…
If the adult leaders want to lead any kind of physical activities or games, it’s rarely possible – there just isn’t enough room. Dede says they have to save up those ideas for one of the four annual sleepovers when they usually have the Mills Building to themselves.
What does this have to do with Making Room? If and when we find a new and larger campus, these are a couple of things for the checklist: larger classrooms, and more classrooms, so programs with high attendance have enough room for large and small discussions and group activities. Better soundproofing would be appreciated for the sometimes delicate discussions that take place in a class on sexuality. The teachers also say it would be wonderful to have a space that could accommodate sleepovers with an adjacent kitchen prep area. The final item on Dede’s wish list is good classroom spaces with windows. “It’s always nice,” she says, “to have windows when working with teens.”