Olathe EC Chat

January 2016

It's still January...

I know you were all worrying and stressing all day long about this months ECD chat. I know. It's stressful. but, never you fear, I have come through for you. And, it's still January - so I'm still not REALLY late.

ITS updates

Aren't you constantly wondering what i'm doing in the other half of my job? well, don't worry. It applies to you - so here are your updates. (you can stop holding your breath now)

  • This month - I am finishing up the May and June Birthdays. Make sure you get the evals started and finished so we aren't stuck with a surprise. Plus, you never know if another one may come along as well.
  • You are all aware that you are supposed to upload the release of information and initial referral for ITS kids to your IEPs. From this point on - I will upload those for you, as I receive them in pdf format - and it saves you the step of getting it scanned. Please be sure to CHECK your IEPs before turning them in though, as I move through the transition of starting that process.
  • I'm going through the list from ITS now that gives all the kids coming to us in the future. That will give an idea on how many more kids to place on eval this school year.


This time of year, with nerves and annoyance at a high - keeping our composure is often a difficult task. What comes with loss of composure is that empathy will go right out the window. Empathy is so imperative in the process of teaching, so that we are better able to 'deal' with stress and 'deal' with the behaviors of the kids. Below are 2 of the 5 prime principles of empathy. Principle #1 is what I work on ALL THE TIME, particularly when my limbic system is on rapid fire.

Principle #1: The moment is at it is.

Think how often you believe things should be different. Have you heard yourself say these phrases:

  • “This should ever have happened,”
  • “What should you be doing,” or
  • “I can’t believe you are acting this way.”

Statements like these program your brain to be resistant. Consider instead using the power of acceptance:

“This moment is as it is.”

Only when you accept the moment that exists can you offer empathy to others. This allows you to stay relaxed enough to take the other person’s perspective. When you resist what is, you become so enmeshed in your own perspective that no other perspectives seem to matter. Resistance to “what is” prevents empathy because it prevents us from being able to see another’s point of view.

Resistance to 'what is', also keeps you stuck in a place where you are unable to give empathy to yourself. That is, looking at the giant pile of papers and knowing that you CAN and WILL get it done. Knowing that you CAN handle it. You stay stuck in the emotional state, thus a constant state of victim-hood.

Principle #2: Resisting the moment as it is creates upset.

Upset prevents you from giving empathy to others. When a child becomes upset, he is resisting the moment as it is.

For example, the child in the class wants to continue playing with blocks when it is time to clean up. Our hope is that the child will accept the situation (time to clean up!) and be cooperative. To help the child we must offer acceptance. This acceptance comes in the form of empathy. If we were to resist the moment, we might think, “He should listen the first time I tell him to clean up.” By focusing on what should be as opposed to what is we are negating the moment, just like the child who wants to continue playing. If we offer resistance to the moment, we increase the possibility that the child will offer resistance in return.

HOWEVER - If we offer acceptance, we are increasing the likelihood of obtaining

acceptance in return. This is done through the use of A.C.T.

A - Acknowledge the child's feelings, wishes, and wants

C - Communicate the limit in terms of safety

T - Target Acceptable behavior.

"You wanted to keep playing. We are cleaning up so that the classroom is ready for us to play next time. Do you want to put away the big blocks first, or the little ones?"

Principle #3: Empathy is the heart of emotional intelligence.

The desire to be understood is a powerful human motivator. It is truly one of our basic survival needs, right up there with food and water. Violence has its roots in lack of empathy. Without empathy we will destroy one another.

With empathy we create a oneness where attack is impossible. When others understand us, we can understand ourselves. Empathy is understanding what another person feels and having insight into their thoughts and actions. When you empathize with children, they realize you care about their ideas and feelings. True empathy demands that you listen to children’s feelings and thoughts without needing to change them.

A key Conscious Discipline notion is this: How you respond to your child’s upset teaches her how to respond to the upset of others.

So here's the deal. There is a LOT to get done before the end of the school year. Lots of kids are needing evaluations. Lots of people are needing paperwork, and oh crap, there are all those outcomes.

Say this with me. It is what it is.

We can spend our energy focusing on all that needs to get done, and complaining and fixating that there isn't enough time, and that there are too many kids, and that their needs are severe. All of that is true. Completely. But - constant complaints don't FIX that. Coming to the standpoint of realizing that the moment is as it is, is freeing. You then can see that you have a lot to get done, but it'll get done. You are able to then compartmentalize the tasks, plan them, and use your executive state as it's meant to be used. Staying in the emotional state and griping and complaining constantly is like using a stationary bike to go get the groceries. You can keep pedaling, but you aren't going anywhere.

That being said - YES - we need to vent. There is nothing wrong with that. Venting, giving a barbaric yelp, whatever is needed is cathartic, and it's helpful. But - after that is over, it's time to realize that it is what it is, but I can handle it, and move forward.

ESY: June 1 - June 30th. Remember passports are due on April 1

Congrats to JENNY at HLC! The first one to turn in a Kindergarten EXIT outcome to Stacy A!!

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Are you using Seesaw yet?

If you aren't - hey - put it on your radar for next year. Let me give you my parent perspective. My 3rd grader's class is using it - and I LOVE it. As a parent, I'm able to get a gander into Logan's classroom and see what he is doing. There are some specific assignments, as well as some things that Logan has chosen to share with me. From the parent perspective - it's awesome, and a fantastic way to keep your parents involved in the classroom.