It’s so easy to find news about the COVID-19 virus anywhere we turn right now. As we all navigate this new concern, it is important to remember that our children are always listening, watching our body language and able to read headlines on a TV, computer, and phone. We are still in the early stages of figuring out how all of this might impact our Indian Springs community in the coming weeks.
It’s tricky but necessary to use caution when discussing the many ‘what ifs’ around this situation. Many adults feel overwhelmed by trying to navigate this situation, and so do our children. I encourage you to have conversations with your support network when children are not nearby, as they seem to always listen when we don’t want them to. In addition, try to limit their exposure to the media. When they have questions, answer with age-appropriate facts (please see the links before for examples) and highlight all the Helpers, those working to keep us healthy and safe to make it less scary for children.
It is developmentally appropriate for children at this age process stress through play. You may witness your child or a group of children “playing doctor” or “Corona virus detective”. I encourage you to monitor this valuable processing time so that you can see what they know and support appropriate discussion, if needed.
With the cancellation of field trips and after school events, feeling disappointed and frustrated is normal. Our staff are helping students process through those emotions as needed. You can normalize these feelings by sharing how you feel about the situation. For example, “I am so disappointed. I know you worked really hard. Would you want to think up so ideas how you could still show me your work?” This allows the student to recognize adults are also feeling frustrated and disappointed and then turning to what they can control in this situation. Comments about decisions being “ridiculous” or an “overreaction” might validate their feelings but will also likely fuel feelings of being out of control in an overwhelming situation.
If you have a student that is overly stressed or worried about this situation, please email me as I will be checking email regularly.
Here are some additional resources if you want to explore more about how to support your children through this situation:
Centers for Disease Control
Coronavirus Disease 2019
Interim Guidance for Administrators of US Childcare Programs and K-12 Schools to Plan, Prepare and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019
U.S. Department of Education
COVID-19 Information and Resources for Schools and School Personnel
Coping with Stress During an Infectious Disease Outbreak
Child Mind Institute
Talking to Kids About the Coronavirus
National School Boards Association
COVID-19: Preparing for Widespread Illness in Your School Community: A Legal Guide for School Leaders
Share My Lesson
Coronavirus Student Guide: Explanations and News Updates
National Education Association
Schools and Coronavirus
National Association of School Psychologists
Talking to Children About COVID-19: A Parent Resource
Yours in Education,
Kindergarten and 1st grade did fantastic learning about personal space and different ways to ask for more space. There are situations where we need more space to feel comfortable (like meeting a new adult) and then there are situations where we need little to no personal space (snuggling on the couch with family). We also practiced how to use a firm “no!” and put our hand out in front if we are not feeling safe, someone is too close and we have used our words but it hasn’t worked.
2nd through 5th grades focused on identifying if a problem was big or little. As we approach the ‘Spring Break Stretch’ there seems to be an increase in peer conflicts. At this point in the year the classrooms have become very close – we know how to support our classmate and we also know what annoys them. Tolerance for these conflicts is also impacted by no snow days. Ugh! :)
To help combat these frequent conflicts students learned that a big problem is a safety concern, something illegal or a problem that keeps happening and they can’t solve on their own. Students worked through 10-30 situations to check their knowledge on the size of a problem. One situation that was covered in each lesson was about a student having a knife on the playground. We discussed how it is not a student’s job to be an investigator and see if what they heard was true. They are to tell an adult right away. We discussed how we do not touch things that could be dangerous if we find them out in the community. All students were very responsive during this conversation and I’m proud of the attention they gave and the wonderful solutions they suggested.
In our next lesson we will be exploring different ways to problem solve the little problems.
Yours in Education,
Happy New Year! Our new year brings our School Counseling Intern, Ms. Courtney Leatherman, back to ISE! Ms. Leatherman was here last winter for her practicum placement. She has returned to complete her internship and will be here on Tuesday mornings, all day Thursdays, and Friday mornings each week.
Ms. Leatherman works at Nationwide Children's Behavioral Health and has a Bachelor's in Social Work. She will be participating in all aspects of the School Counseling program at ISE, under my direct supervision. If you have any questions please contact me at 614-365-6032 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Welcome back, Ms. Leatherman!
Yours in Education,
I am excited for our newest incentive: screen-free bingo! We will be sending home a bingo card through Backpack Express right before Thanksgiving Break. Time off from school can be a great opportunity to change up the pace and unwind. This was designed by our Family Ambassador, Sara Orlos, and myself in the hope that students will have a well-rounded break and spend some time away from using technology. If your student gets a bingo make sure they bring in their completed card by December 3rd to be entered into the raffle to win a new digital camera!
As the holiday season draws near and winter temperatures set in, many families could use some extra help. Check Backpack Express for a blue flyer that lists local resources to help with winter clothing, utility bills, food, and also toys for the holidays. There will also be information on the reverse side about how your family can help by donating to those in need through our annual ISE Giving Tree Project.
I hope your family has a safe and happy Thanksgiving break!
Yours in Education,
I am really enjoying my time in the classrooms with your student(s). They have creative ideas and are fantastic problem solvers.
I wanted to focus on the importance of sleep in our students. Poor or inadequate sleep can lead to mood swings, difficulty focusing in school or “balloon popping reactions”. I work with our students to have them visualize all the emotions they hold as a balloon. Negative-feeling emotions are puffs of air into the balloon. Positive-feeling emotions are puffs of air let out of the balloon. When our balloon is really full all it can take is one puff of air to ‘pop’. Coping skills and healthy habits help release the air so we are not walking around feeling like we could ‘pop’ at any moment.
Healthy sleep habits include:
- Establishing and sticking to a regular bedtime
- Limiting screen time at least an hour before bed
- Electronics not being in the bedroom
- Dark, cool, and quiet room for sleeping
Sleep for our children is incredibly important and the upcoming DST threatens that routine. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children ages 6-12 get 9-12 hours of sleep each night. For our Kindergarteners that are 5, they recommend 10-13 hours of sleep each night.
Here are some resources if you would like to research further:
about-the-aap/aap-press-room/ Pages/American-Academy-of- Pediatrics-Supports-Childhood- Sleep-Guidelines.aspx
nationwidechildrens.org/ family-resources-education/ health-wellness-and-safety- resources/helping-hands/ healthy-sleep-habits-for- older-children-and-teens
Yours in Education,
Our school year is off to a terrific start! I wanted to inform you on two new Social Emotional Learning components of Indian Springs that have me very excited! The first component is the incorporation of the Zones of Regulation in each classroom. There are four Zones which are identified by color.
Blue: Sad, sick, tired, bored, moving slowly, etc.
Green: Happy, calm, feeling okay, focused, ready to learn, etc.
Yellow: Frustrated, worried, silly/wiggly, excited, loss of some control, etc.
Red: Mad/angry, terrified, yelling/hitting, elated, out of control, etc.
The Zones are deigned to help students recognize when they are in the different zones as well as learn how to use strategies to change or stay in the zone they are in. Teachers have been supporting students through identifying which zone they connect with and if they want to move to another zone, what strategies might help. No Zone is a “bad” zone. If a student identifies as being in the Red or Yellow Zone they are supported in looking at the identified tools and selecting which tool(s) to try in order to move to a different Zone.
The second SEL component that is new to Indian Springs is our Sensory Path. This was installed by our Occupational Therapist, Mrs. Rick, and is in the hall by rooms 6, 9, and 10. Students will have access to move through this scripted set of movements as one of their coping strategies for moving to a different Zone (as discussed above). Fritz loves the Sensory Path as well and will be helping students learn how to do the movements when I visit their classrooms this month. We plan to eventually have a second Sensory Path upstairs!
We hope you can check out the Sensory Path during the Open House on September 26th!
Yours in Education,