Lower School Girls Explore the Democratic Election Process

Lower school girls exercise their right to vote! This year's election presented a teachable moment for Hutchison girls.
Using a real lower school election situation, our fourth grade faculty created an election-themed project to help girls understand how a democratic society makes major decisions.

The question was: How might we improve our Hutchison community or provide positive, memorable experiences for all lower school girls?

In their legislative process, the girls created lists and met in small groups to discuss ideas. After all ideas had been voiced and sorted into categories, groups then decided upon their favorite top three ideas. The girls evaluated their top ideas according to their focus questions: Are you selecting something that either improves our Hutchison community or creates a positive memorable experience for lower school girls? Are you selecting something that can be done and would follow school policy? After all groups presented their top three ideas to the entire fourth grade class, girls voted on their favorite ideas. It became clear that Lower School would be voting between a Movie Day or a Hutchison Anniversary Day celebration.

As they explored the responsibilities of an election commission, the girls suggested jobs and discussed the important aspects needed for a successful election. These included voter registration cards, banners and posters for ideas, voting schedules and locations, best ways to collect and count votes, ensuring privacy during voting, and the distribution of "I Voted" stickers to all participating voters. The girls were then divided into four committees: voter volunteers (ensure all is going smoothly at the polls, distribute stickers), voting process (create voting schedule, collect and count the votes), voting registration (create voter registration cards), and campaigning committee (create banners, posters, and buttons). Soon an election day was set, campaign posters were posted across Lower School, and the election commission distributed voter registration cards in preparation for the big day.

Today each lower school grade and teacher visited the Innovation Lab with their own voter registration card, and the fourth grade girls showed them how to navigate the voting booths. Girls who were absent from school today even called in to give their absentee vote!

Lower School Head Ann Marie Crump spoke about the learning experience and process of this project when she said, "The girls went through a design-thinking process while they brainstormed to decide which events they wanted the division to vote upon. They wanted to do something that would bring the Hutchison community together. Using their imaginations while working in cooperative groups, the girls learned about the election process through a truly unique hands-on experience."

By a margin of 29 votes, Movie Day proved to be the winner during this lower school election!

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Hutchison is the leading private girls school in Memphis for ages 2 years old through twelfth grade.