Last weekend Katie Ricciardi, Integrated Arts Teacher for Kindergarten, Doug Bomema, Guidance Counselor and I went to a conference. Yup, we really know how to live! Seriously, though, the conference was wonderful. It was called Learning and the Brain and focussed on what research says about supporting children’s emotional growth. We heard from neuroscientists, educators, professors and doctors. We chatted with each other in between sessions and surfaced some takeaway messages:
Much of children’s emotional health starts to develop in diapers. Resilience later in childhood has been linked to things like how often children were held, how adults responded when they fussed as a baby and the amount of conversation the baby heard. This is good to know, holding, talking to and changing babies goes a long way to developing resilient children.
It is never too late to support positive growth.
Children benefit from being part of a group, having others recognize who they are, communicating with others face to face, unstructured play in natural settings (especially with a range of ages in the group), opportunities to solve problems and expressing their creativity. The body was not ignored as a good diet, exercise and adequate sleep were linked to positive outlook. Remember sleep? 10 or more hours are needed for our children.
When children are upset, anxious, angry or scared, they can not reason. See, the amygdala turns off the frontal cortex when the person is upset (I sound smart, eh?). They showed us brain images to highlight this point. We need to help children calm before we discuss.
Child can react with fear over non-threatening events; they called these paper tigers. We need to support children to learn the difference between paper and real tigers.
Self-esteem is overrated. Rather than building children up to feel they are the best and infallible, we need to build them up to be happy that they are them. We need to celebrate who they are and accept mistakes as evidence that they took a risk. Risk taking is wonderful!
Schools can help children with consistent messages around including all, affirming who the children are, giving them room to solve problems and leaving time to discuss. We can help them learn about themselves and to negotiate challenges, which then leads to fostering resilience.
Schools can help children by attending to their stress level; children grow the most with productive stress but do not grow with over the top stress.
The conferences did a nice job of reminding us that schools are in the people business. Children come to learn and adults come to work. In the work of the school, educating, we need to keep this in mind.
I have been asked by a few people to show the movie, Most Likely To Succeed, again soon. So, I will show it on Wednesday, December 2nd from 6:00 to 8:00. If you have an interest in discussing possibilities in education, come join us. If you do not know much about the film, learn about it online.
Drop Off and Pick Up
We have adjusted our drop off procedures a bit. When you bring your child to school in the morning we ask that you pull up so three or four cars can unload at once. The furthest car should be just rounding the corner to leave, stop near that new stripe of pavement. As best you can, have your child sit on the passenger side of the car so children do not have to walk between cars. Also, feel free to stay seated and let your child climb out on their own. These practices are safe and make for a faster line!
At the end of the day, please walk with your child on the sidewalk and on the crosswalk. If you stay together you lessen the chance of little ones darting in between cars.
Two of our teachers coached fall sports at BHS: Jessica Allison and Tracy Berube. Mrs. Berube's varsity field hockey team made it to the tournament and Ms. Allison was voted NH D3 JV Coach of the Year. To make this more impressive, Ms. Allison received the honor by other NH soccer coaches because of her integrity and quality work for her athletes. It is great to see that our talented teachers share their gifts with children outside of BES as well as inside BES!
The toiletry drive and the need for substitute teachers continues. See below for details.
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