‘PAWSitive’ Rewards in Lower School Bring Joy to Students and Campus Alike

It is quite a sight—a handful of young Lower School students in a mass of tricycles, weaving across the pathway, touring the entirety of St. Margaret’s beautiful campus with giggles, shouts and smiles. You can catch them outside the Performing Arts Center, down in the Upper School, over by Sillers Hall, and anywhere in between.

Leading the parade is Lower School assistant principal Maile Bellosi on a bicycle with a Bluetooth speaker on board playing fun, uplifting music. Behind them all is Lower School Principal Jennifer Blount on a scooter.

It is an experience the students wouldn’t normally have, but in this case, they earned it. It is on the menu for kindergarten and grade 1 students as a reward for positive contributions to the classroom. Students earn Dojo points in the class for demonstrating good morals, values and behavior, which translate to PAWsitives for the purpose of rewards.

Each grade level has their own menu with grade-specific rewards, but all the lists have rewards like wacky sock day, a water bottle sticker, or a St. Margaret’s pencil.

“We reward students who meet and exceed behavioral expectations with class Dojo points, incentives, special privileges and much more,” Mrs. Blount said. “There are spirit days and reward days where the excitement is almost palpable and all the while the children are reminded that ‘PAWsitive’ character is what great leaders are made of.”

The individual reward redemptions happen four times a year, and grade 5 leadership students help tally the points and record what students choose to exchange their PAWsitive points for. For 25 PAWsitives, a grade 2 student can make slime with Lower School science teacher Erin Moore. For 75 PAWsitives, a grade 1 student can have lunch with a professional community member on campus.

And then there’s the trike tour, which brings joy to anybody who happens to see it. As fun as the tour normally is, the most recent one was extra special—the young Tartans happened upon the Middle School soccer team practicing on Tartan Field during their tour. Coach Jenny Anderson-Hammond invited them over, and a Lower School-Middle School soccer scrimmage ensued.

“It was hard to tell which group was having more fun,” Mrs. Bellosi said.

In addition to individual incentives, each PAWsitive a student receives also earns a point for the House League (Oxford, Belmont, Carlton or York) with the winning house leagues--announced every other week--earning free dress the following Friday.
An independent preschool through grade 12 college-preparatory day school in Orange County, California
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St. Margaret’s Episcopal School
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San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
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