Inspired by the story of the Founding Fathers and framers of the U.S. Constitution, three third graders at Maire Elementary School, recognizing the need for more order in Pinecone Village, drafted their own set of rules for governing the make-believe mini society located at the school playground.
“We realized that there was a lot of fighting (in Pinecone Village),” Gia Cavaliere said of the problem afflicting the village, which started about five years ago as a place for all students to share and have fun together and spend time with friends.
“It’s like a community, like a real community,” Santino Taliercio said.
But recently, that community environment had come under attack, with students not sharing or some hiding or stealing pinecones.
“That was the problem: nobody shared,” Taliercio said. “I said, ‘Why won’t you share the house?’ There were a lot of people who don’t want to share houses. They know you will steal their pinecones and go do something with them.”
This led Cavaliere, Taliercio and Piper Cameron to seek a response to the dilemma. Having celebrated Constitution Day in class last month and learned about the framing of the U.S. Constitution, the three students came together and approached Maire principal Sonja Franchett with the idea of writing their own.
“The Constitution sounded like all these rules, and it had so many rules, so we thought we should make just, like a little one that wouldn’t be as big as the real constitution, but just a few rules for Pinecone Village so we could keep it open,” Cavaliere said.
“We just had the idea of, when we were done talking, of the constitution,” Cameron added.
The one-page document, now posted throughout the school and read on the video announcements, consists of about 10 rules designed to restore Pinecone Village to its more fun, community-like times.
They range from don’t harm the trees to don’t wreck houses or boss anyone around to limiting pinecones to 20 per student.
For the time being, it’s only the third graders using Pinecone Village, giving them a chance to pilot the new rules and possibly add newer rules should students feel the need.
“It’s kind of an ongoing thing,” Franchett said. “We had to have a third-grade meeting (Friday). We met and talked about what the rules mean and went over those and how people interpret them. Just because we have some rules, we don’t have rules for everything. It’s still a village you have to be able to co-exist in.”
Taliercio, Cameron and Cavaliere hope the constitution does just that, helping lead students back toward co-existence.
Because, Cavaliere said, “There’s not really so much fun when you have to be fighting with everybody, and then it’s going to close and no one’s happy.”