Weaving Visual Connections
One of the newest community identifiers is the “Identity Tapestry” on the Lower Campus. Woven on a pinboard are the stories of our littlest Mustangs on display for the community to see and engage in. It all started with Early Childhood Visual Arts Teacher Cheryl Bruno researching activities to help strengthen student fiber and wrapping skills when she came across Mary Cory March’s creation. What Ms. Bruno didn’t know, is what started with a Preschool activity has turned into a centerpiece for the entire Lower Campus that supports this year’s theme of storytelling to foster connection and deeper understanding.
The Identity Tapestry originated as a self-reflection technique with continually evolving statements. The first statements included what kind of pet you have, where you live, and the people in your household. This has evolved into more intrinsic values; hobbies, interests, talents, and how you add to the community. By turning self-reflection from internal to visual, other students are able to connect to their classmates across grades.
Students have one by one woven their stories into this piece with different colored strings based on their grades. Sisters Grace and Caroline were two of the first to add their yarn to the tapestry. “I like the idea of learning more about other people. Sometimes I follow a color string to see what hobbies and likes other people have that match mine.” Caroline says. Grace says “I feel like I have a lot in common with my classmates. A lot of them like to read just like me.”
“This will grow over the course of the year as more students participate. I have added ‘Upstander values’. Every month we teach a new value from the Upstander list. In the past months, we have introduced honor, trust, grit, courage, joy, knowledge, respect, and more that all appear on the tapestry.” Ms. Bruno says. “I am so happy students have expressed an interest in this. Every time a student asks me what it is, I invite them to add their string. The look on their faces as they cut the remainder of the string off once they have finished their weave is pure joy.”
As students add their stories to the tapestry, each strand holds other strands and pins in place. The creation has gotten stronger, just like a community that designs, fosters, grows, multiplies, and creates its stories together.