Project Cornerstone is an initiative that seeks to build a community where all adults support children and youth so they can thrive.
We can help the children in our community feel that they belong by creating thousands of moments when children/ youth feel valued, respected and known.
The underlying scientific background of the program is based on research by the Search Institute, which identified 40 developmental building blocks that kids need to succeed. These “developmental assets” are subdivided into 8 key areas:
• Support: “I mean something to the people in my world.”
• Empowerment: “I make a difference in the world.”
• Boundaries and Expectations: “I know what’s expected of me and what behaviors are ‘in bounds’ and ‘out of bounds’.”
• Constructive Use of Time: “I have balance in my life between activities that challenge me and activities that refresh me.”
• Commitment to Learning: “I like to learn new things.”
• Positive Values: “I try my best to ‘do the right thing,’ and I believe it’s important to help others.”
• Social Competencies: “I know how to make good choices and build positive relationships.”
• Positive Identity: “I feel good about myself and I have a bright future.”
Check out the 40 assets that define these categories or pick up a poster in the office.
Kids who agree that these statements are true for them, are thriving. They have the relationships and experiences they need to be resilient, to overcome adversity, to resist risky and dangerous behaviors and to achieve success as a positive, contributing member of our community.
At Daves we consider ourselves a Project Cornerstone School, that lives and teaches these assets in daily life through role-modeling, projects and specific Cornerstone terminology.
Project Cornerstone related programs in place at Daves:
ABC readers: Parent volunteers go into the classrooms every month and use children’s literature to share concepts of caring, interpersonal competence, personal power, empathy, integrity, equality and social justice, honesty, and responsibility. ABC stands for “Asset Building Champions”, referring to the three different years of reading that build on each other.
They increase student life skills in decision making, planning, goal setting, building friendships, identification of feelings, taking care of health (physical and emotional), responding to bully behaviors, and peaceful conflict resolution.
FunVisors: Parent Volunteers are present on the playground at recess offering fun interaction at the FunVisor Tables with Legos, drawing, stacking cups, board games, jump games, bottom scooters, clay days and other special activities.
Cornerstone Fun Zone: A parent volunteer offers mindfulness exercises and fun exploration of the ABC readers’ topics in an active approach using Yoga methods and all senses.
They increase student achievement and learning engagement by creating a more caring, positive school climate at lunch recess where all students belong and feel safe.
Cornerstone Corner in the Wednesday Wave: Read the Cornerstone Corner in our weekly school newsletter, a weekly article about educational matters in the context of our current Cornerstone activities. Research shows, that all educational efforts are more successful when parents are informed about the school’s educational activities, understand and support their children.
Kindness Counts: This program is centered on the belief that kindness is a value held by our entire community - adults and children. The school provides Kindness Counts cards on which the children write Acts of Kindness they observed, did themselves or had done to them. We hang these cards up in the school to show how kindness spreads and is contagious and hereby “train the empathy muscle”.
K-Kids: In collaboration with the Los Gatos Kiwanis Club, our K-Kids plan and realize service projects for individuals or groups in our community. The club is open to 4th and 5th graders and meets every other week at lunch time.
With this club we focus on the “Service Asset” (number 9), which is the only asset that acts as a gateway asset. By giving service to others, children learn to be a valued part of their community, feel empowered by being active contributors to society, develop planning competencies, self esteem and empathy. All these are essential building blocks on the journey of a thriving life.
Asset building is common sense, just un-common in day to day practice. Intentionally building assets in youth helps us close the gap between what we know we SHOULD do and what we DO. Use your strengths to build assets!
Visit the Project Cornerstone Website for more information or talk to our Project Cornerstone Chairs or your child’s ABC reader.