Family Information

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Child Protection
Posted by Leanne Rollet on June 09, 2015 at 9:45am

Wow, this year has flown by!  As we prepare for summer fun, I wanted to share with you some of the Safety Rules that the second and third graders have been learning in their Child Protection Unit.  This updated curriculum from the Committee for Children has been an engaging way to equip the children with some important safety information that would be good for all children so we wanted to share it with all parents. 

NEVER, NEVER RULES

  • Never touch guns
  • Never play with fire
  • Never ride on wheels without wearing a helmet
  • Never go in water without an older person watching
  • Never use a sharp tool without an older person’s help
  • Never ride in a car without wearing a seatbelt
  • Never touch a dog without asking the person in charge
  • Never cross the street without checking all ways for traffic

 WAYS to STAY SAFE

  • RECOGNIZE:  Is it safe? What’s the rule?
  • REFUSE:  Say words that mean NO
  • REPORT:  Tell and adult

 Go online to SecondStep.org and log in with the activation key CPU2 FAMI LYG2 to get more information about child safety. 

Bullying and Peer Conflict
Posted by Leanne Rollet on May 27, 2015 at 11:14am

What can a parent do about bullying?

One of the joys of parenthood is getting to hear about your child’s school day. When children tell about their experiences, we get a little glimpse into their worlds. When trouble on the playground is brought up, however, joy can be replaced with anxiety, as we recollect our own childhood experiences with bullying or struggle to find ways to protect our child. It is not always clear when to jump in because our children may experience social conflicts that are typical or it might be important to allow them to solve their own problems. Knowing what a parent can do and when, starts with an understanding of the differences between peer conflict and bullying.

What is bullying? Bullying is one-sided; it harms physically or emotionally. It happens repeatedly, even if the person doing the bullying behavior has been told to stop. Bullying is intentional and planned, and the person often wants to have power or control over the victim and usually does not feel sorry nor try to solve the problem. Victims of bullying do not feel safe, which can have a substantial disruption to their education and emotional well-being.

Peer conflict, on the other hand, happens between peers with whom they normally feel safe. It happens once in a while, and it usually stops when the child asks them to stop. Peer conflict is not planned out, not very harmful, and not a result of someone trying to control or have power over someone else. Children involved in peer conflict usually want to solve the problem.

What can a parent do about peer conflict? Give your child the tools to work it out. In the Tahoma School District, elementary students are taught Problem-Solving Steps within their Second Step lessons. This is when they’re guided in conflict resolution by following the STEP acronym (Say the problem; Think of solutions; Explore consequences; Pick the best solution). If your child needs help with peer conflict, refer to these steps to guide and plan their problem-solving. On the other hand, if you suspect your child is being bullied, (that is, he or she is repeatedly being physically and/or emotionally harmed AND it is one-sided (they are not returning the harm) encourage him or her to follow the three Rs, Recognize, Refuse, Report. Remember: Bullying affects all children—whether they are victims, bullies or bystanders. There are caring adults at school who want to know about situations involving bullying so we can create a safe environment for all students. Concerned and involved staff, parents, and students can reduce bullying in schools by following the three Rs, Recognize, Refuse and then Report!

Kindergarten Readiness
Posted by Leanne Rollet on May 27, 2015 at 11:14am

It’s that time of year again! Schools across the nation are preparing to welcome next school year’s kindergartners. As the Tahoma School District strives to ensure our graduates are Future Ready, we also place a high value on students being kindergarten ready.

The months leading up to the first day of kindergarten can be an anxious time for parents. Preparing your child for kindergarten can feel like a daunting task, especially if your child is showing signs of not being ready (perhaps he or she has a summer birthday). Readiness checklists can assist in measuring whether or not a child is demonstrating skills for learning. Such checklists are included in Tahoma’s kindergarten registration packets. Be sure to read over those checklists carefully, especially if you are have any doubts about your child’s readiness.

Beyond academic skills such as writing his/her name, identify rhyming words, and count to ten, the biggest measure of kindergarten readiness is his/her self-regulation skills. In today’s classrooms, children in kindergarten are required to sit and attend to adult-directed tasks and instruction, listen to stories without interrupting, and follow two-step directions. They are expected to follow class and school rules, recall and follow classroom routines, and be able to recognize authority. Kindergartners begin to learn to control themselves without throwing tantrums, and they begin to share with others. What is more, today’s kindergartners are expected to participate appropriately and stay on-topic to classroom discussions. A student’s success in these areas will largely depend upon their development. Have they had enough practice in preschool, in social settings, and at home? Parents can help with this process by providing ample opportunities for practice.

If you’re having doubts about whether or not your preschool child is ready for kindergarten, please do not hesitate to consult your future school counselor.  Getting ready for kindergarten is one step in the journey of being Future Ready and we welcome parent-school partnerships!

Attendance Matters
Posted by Leanne Rollet on May 27, 2015 at 11:12am

Even in elementary school, attendance is a crucial element in a child’s success! Unless children attend school on a regular basis, they are missing the opportunity to build an essential skill: showing up on time, every day to school and eventually to work. Good attendance is a habit that children need to form. Studies show that if students miss school in their early years, attendance will suffer later.

Elementary school lays the foundation for children’s future success.  Being in school every day means your child won’t miss out on learning. Attendance in the early years can help children learn to read and succeed in school. If too much school is missed, they lag behind classmates in reading which will impact their learning in other areas as well.

In Tahoma, if a student misses more than 10% of a month (about 4 days in a month), their family will receive a letter making them aware of how much school was missed. If a student then gets 3 of these letters home (which means they’ve missed 10% or more of 3 months!), our school district will attempt to make a plan and in some cases set up an attendance contract to make sure our students gain the benefits of attending school in these early years of their lives.

Try to schedule appointments and family trips outside of school hours. If a child asks to stay home “just because,” remind them of what they’ll miss, such as reading groups, art time, or PE. Explain that they can be absent only if they are sick or if there is a family emergency. Learning is a student’s job. Let’s set all our future ready students up for success! 

Emotions Management
Posted by Leanne Rollet on January 09, 2015 at 3:13pm

Let’s be honest, was anyone happy that school started again?  While having the children home for the holidays offers the wonderful opportunity for quality family time, sometimes as parents we feel trapped by our child’s displays of emotional behaviors.  It can be frustrating to see a fun event soured by a temper tantrum and downright embarrassing when our children are crying about a disappointment at our family gatherings. In his book, Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child, the Heart of Parenting, Dr. John Gottman offers some really helpful ideas for parents about how to coach our children through these emotional times in a way that develops strong life-long skills in emotional regulation, social relationships, problem solving, and self-confidence.

 

The five steps of Emotion Coaching are: 1. Be aware of your child’s emotions. 2. Recognize emotions as an opportunity for connection or teaching. 3. Help your child verbally label the emotions.  4. Communicate empathy and understanding.  5. Set limits and problem solve. (Gottman, John M., Schwartz Gottman, Julie. (2013).  Emotion Coaching, The Heart of Parenting. Seattle, WA:  The Gottman Institute.)

 

Dr. Gottman’s parenting skills partner very nicely with emotions management and problem solving skills our students are learning in the classroom during their Second Step lessons. For more information check out the article “Building Skills for Emotionally Healthy Children” from the Tahoma Elementary Counselor/Social Worker website: http://swift.tahoma.wednet.edu/csc/ecounselors/documents  or this parenting article on the Second Step website. (http://www.cfchildren.org/second-step/social-emotional-learning/powerful-parenting.aspx.

 

Coming soon:  On February 3rd and 10th, the Tahoma Counseling Department is organizing a two evening parenting class to learn more about Dr. Gottman’s Emotion Coaching steps through a new video series. More details will be coming soon to sign up for your spot.  Also, feel free to contact your child’s school counselor for more information in the next week or two.

Creating Balance in your Child's Life
Posted by Leanne Rollet on January 09, 2015 at 3:11pm

Parents want what is best for their children.  Often this means encouraging their child to explore interests through extra-curricular activities such as sports, music lessons, and dance.  Add to that the extra performances and celebrations for the holidays and now things are really busy!  While afterschool activities have a wealth of benefits and it is fun to engage in all of the activity at this most wonderful time of the year, how do we know when our children are too busy?  How do we create balance in our active child’s life? 

Kids that are overscheduled can be tired, stressed, moody, and grades may suffer.   Assignments are missing because they did not have time complete them or were too tired.  Kids that lose enthusiasm for the activities they normally love may be doing too much.  

So what’s a parent to do?  According to Pam Myers BSEd, there are several steps parents can take to help create more balance in their children’s lives.  First, establish priorities.  Have a conversation with your child about what is important to them.  Is it chess club, playing soccer, and/or the piano?  Help your child eliminate activities that are not enjoyable or enriching. Sometimes less is more.  Second, schedule “down time”.   It’s important to remember that children need some unscheduled, unstructured time to relax, play with friends, and spend time with family. School is demanding and exhausting. Children need time to decompress and reflect on their day. Third, set priorities or rules ahead of time.  One example is a two-activity maximum per child during the school year or two nights a week need to be free of structured activities.  School should be a top priority. 

Every child and family is unique.  Finding the right fit for your family may take some trial and error. Modeling and teaching your child the importance of not only structured activities, but down time as well will help them maintain a balanced life.   

 

Sources

Myers, Pam. 3 Signs that your Child is Overscheduled and What to do about it. Child Development Institute, 11

      Nov. 2014. Web. 17 November 2014.

Is Your Child Too Busy? Kids Health from Nemours. KidsHealth.org, September 2014. Web. 1 December 2014.

Elkins, David. The Overbooked Child. Psychology Today, 1 January 2003.  Web. 1 December 2014.