Please Note: Only COVID-19 vaccinated adults and children over 5 can attend the Clinic.

Each Student Brings a Village with Them

Welcome to the 2024 school year. What an exciting time for students and their families as students begin their next developmental age and stage in the schooling process. Beginnings provide new opportunities, new routines, new relationships, new-ness. What could an educator or leader, using the bower(schools) approach, build into their practice at the beginning of a new school year?

One of the first, and most important, tasks in building a relationship with a student is to know them and know their world; to map the ‘village’ that person exists in. The village or ecogram is like a family tree but more – it includes anyone who is important to the story of a person now and the journey they have taken. The ‘village’ is a diagrammatic representation of the relational and wider system world of a person. It “goes beyond the nuclear family of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries to acknowledge the vast range of family arrangements that people grow up in, to include blended families, families with same-sex parents, adopted and biological families, professionals involved in the care and management of a person, friends, pets, and of course the wider family of origin which may or may not play a critical role in the raising of children” (bower(knowledge), “How to create an Ecogram”, 2023).

As you get to know your class this year, think systemically about the students in your care. Gather the information about who is important in the world of each student. Mapping their village, or getting the students to map their own villages, is an opportunity to connect, build rapport and gather rich information about who is closely connected to the student and who has influence in their world. This process may build trust with students, knowing you care about them and who is important to their story, and this will give you the information you may need to know about who to collaborate with through the year.

The cliche, “it takes a village to raise a child” holds true today, as it always did. We know the school, and especially the teacher, is a pivot point in the village of each child. Teachers are central to the story of a student for 365 days in their life. For students with high and complex needs, and limited ‘villages’, teachers need to draw on the support and effective collaboration of other members of that student’s ‘village’. Relationship fractures often hurt students. Effective collaboration in a student’s village is central to making things happen for that student; this ensures the students’ needs are met and the teacher can share that responsibility with others.

Mapping the village could be done directly with your students, in class or with the parents, as part of your “Parent/Teacher interviews” that usually occur within Term 1. Establishing the foundations for collaborative practice will set you up for a very effective 2024! It will give you a valuable resource to return to if emotional dysregulation or behavioural problems appear in any of the students in your care and enable you to see not just the students in front of you in the classroom, but the world that each of them brings with them.


To read the article above and to learn more about mapping the village/ecogram and the protocols used within bower(schools) sign up for bower(knowledge) here.

To learn more about bower(schools) visit bower(schools).

To join our online bower(schools) workshop coming up on January 17th, sign up via the link.

Free weekly
director’s notes
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

By subscribing you agree to receive marketing communications from Bower Place. You can unsubscribe at any time or contact us to have your details deleted from our database.