Words To The Wise
Happy New Year! It is hard to believe that the holidays are behind us and that the school year is almost half over! The second marking period will end on Friday, January 15, 2015, with report cards being distributed on Thursday, February 4, 2015. Here’s to keeping all of those New Year’s resolutions!
As we complete the second marking period, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our families for supporting Westowne Elementary and the instructional program. Students come prepared to learn and parents understand that school is extremely important and expect students to give one hundred percent. Thank you for spending time each evening to listen to daily events, assist with homework, and to encourage efforts to meet the academic challenges of each grade level. Westowne is very fortunate to have many parent volunteers visit and assist teachers and students on a daily basis. Many volunteers complete work at home to support the instructional program and special events planned for the year. During the remaining months, the faculty, staff, and administration look forward to working with you to ensure a successful year for every student. A special thank you to the Westowne PTA for their commitment and dedication to all staff and students. It is always great to have so many supportive and involved parents. Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!
I am sure most Westowne Families have noticed the progress of the new WES building. Construction is on track and the workers are working feverishly to get the building under roof. As you can see, the second story (closest to Harlem Lane) has begun and the cafeteria, gymnasium, main entrance, and media center roof work is well under way. In the near future, insulation and brick veneer will begin. It is certainly an exciting time as we are now able to see the footprint and size of the actual building!
Vision and Hearing Screening will be performed on all PreK, 1st, and 4th grade students, and any Kindergarten student who was not screened in PreK. Screening dates are 1/20/16-1/27/16 with a retest date of February 10, 2016 for the screening of absentees and confirmation of test failures.
Please, do not send medication to school in your child’s backpack. Any medication to be administered during the school day must be brought to the school nurse by an adult and must be accompanied by a physician’s order to administer the medication. If you need a medication administration order form, please contact Nurse Martin at 410-869-0023 or email@example.com.
Please remember to send in a note when your child has been absent.
The Flu Mist Program that was scheduled for December has been canceled. Please consult your child’s pediatrician to obtain a flu shot or the flu mist for your child.
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
ARE YOU UP FOR THE CHALLENGE?
January Character Education Topic: Caring/Empathy
From the article: Teaching Children Empathy By Jessica Lahey
When Harvard University’s Making Caring Common Project released their report, “The Children We Mean to Raise: The Real Messages Adults Are Sending About Values,” many parents and educators — myself included — were surprised to learn that despite all our talk about instilling character and empathy, kids may value academic achievement and individual happiness over caring for others. In the report, the authors explained that the children’s values reflected what they believe adults value.
In the wake of these dispiriting study results, the Making Caring Common Project and the Ashoka Empathy Initiative created a set of recommendations for teaching empathy to children.
In order to be truly empathetic, children need to learn more than simple perspective-taking; they need to know how to value, respect and understand another person’s views, even when they don’t agree with them. Empathy, Mr. Weissbourd argues, is a function of both compassion and of seeing from another person’s perspective, and is the key to preventing bullying and other forms of cruelty.
To that end, the project offers these five suggestions for developing empathy in children:
Empathize with your child and model how to feel compassion for others
Make caring for others a priority and set high ethical expectations
Provide opportunities for children to practice
Expand your child’s circle of concern
Help children develop self-control and manage feelings effectively
Even when kids feel empathy for others, societal pressures and prejudices can block their ability to express their concern. When kids are angry with each other over a perceived slight, for example, it can be a real challenge for them to engage their sense of empathy. Encourage kids to name those stereotypes and prejudices, and to talk about their anger, envy, shame and other negative emotions. Model conflict resolution and anger management in your own actions, and let your kids see you work through challenging feelings in your own life.
Educators will tell you that a classroom full of empathetic kids simply runs more smoothly than one filled with even the happiest group of self-serving children.
Similarly, family life is more harmonious when siblings are able feel for each other and put the needs of others ahead of individual happiness. If a classroom or a family full of caring children makes for a more peaceful and cooperative learning environment, just imagine what we could accomplish in a world populated by such children.
Jessica Lahey is an educator, writer and speaker. She writes about parenting and education for The New York Times, The Atlantic, Vermont Public Radio and her own blog, Coming of Age in the Middle. Her book, “The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed,” will be published by HarperCollins in 2015. Read more at: http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/04/teachingchildrenempathy/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0
Helping Your Child Make New Friends
By Jessica Efird
“Friendships are very important when it comes to emotional health,” explains Julia Cook, a former teacher and school counselor who authored “Making Friends Is an ART!” Continues Cook, “To a child, even having just one good friend can make a huge difference.” While some children make friends with ease, others may need encouragement.
Here are some ways you can help your child make lasting friendships without putting too much pressure on them:
Talk About It Talk about or brainstorm a list of “friend qualities” with your child. Cook suggests using concepts such as: being friendly, being honest, laughing and having fun, willingness to share, being kind, and learning how to place others’ needs ahead of their own.
Connecting Through Conversations Since being able to share thoughts and ideas is so important to any friendship, you can help your child understand how to build and maintain a conversation. “Remind kids to look for connections between what was just said and what they will say next,” shares Barbara Boroson.
Organize Play Dates or Activities If a child continues to struggle or feel less than confident in their friend-making skills, be proactive in organizing play dates for kids.
Be Realistic At the same time, be sure to not have unrealistic expectations of your shy or socially reserved child. “Some children are more outgoing than others. It’s just their personality.
Lastly, Cook advises, “Remember to be patient. Teaching friendship skills will never be as easy as it sounds, and we are all at different levels of learning.”
In the end, children will continue to grow socially as they progress through school. With the support of parental love and coaching, children will better enjoy the journey toward meaningful friendships.
Team BCPS Blue Day (wear blue)
End of Second Quarter
School and Offices Closed