Council is an integral component of Seven Arrow’s social-emotional program. Council is a weekly 30-minute class offered in all grades that allows students to share and listen to one another on a topic chosen by the teacher. This time is utilized as a tool through which to resolve conflict or discuss a core value or issue that the students may be dealing with. Student are asked to share and listen from the heart, giving them an opportunity to voice their opinions or concerns, and to feel a sense of understanding, acceptance, and responsibility for one another.

The Council program is based on the idea of creating a sacred space where all involved feel safe enough to express their innermost thoughts and feelings. All participants sit on the floor in a circle, and comments are made only with the use of a “talking piece,” which is passed from person to person. The Council is directed by the leader, and a topic or question for reflection is posed. Participants may choose to respond to the question at hand, share something different, or pass. What is shared in Council stays in Council to maintain the safety of the space.

Council has been a tremendous asset to our program, and has allowed teachers to learn more about students, and vice versa. Some Council topics for students have included, “Do you feel you are part of a group, or not part of a group? How does that affect you?,” “What does it mean to be a good friend?,” or “What inspires you?” The responses generally received from students are poignant, deep, and often surprising. The success of the program has even led to the facilitation of periodic staff Councils, as well as parent Councils.