The Flores Flyer
November 9, 2018 Volume 1, Issue 3
My heart was heavy upon waking up Thursday morning and learning about another mass shooting. My immediate thoughts were of the people directly impacted and the brave first responders to the scene. I then thought about my own children, but also of the many children on our school campus. These events can be difficult for adults to process, but even more so for our children to understand.
It can be challenging to know what and how much to say to a child after a tragic event like the one in Thousand Oaks. Children listen to adults’ conversations and pick up on body language. I encourage you to be mindful of your reactions, along with what is on TV while your child is present. The age of your child will impact the types of conversations you might have with them. A wonderful resource in supporting children with a variety of topics is the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Currently their front page contains over ten different articles and resources to guide parents in response to gun violence. Another helpful resource may be found here from the National Association of School Psychologists.
Additionally, please trust that we are working hard every day to provide a safe learning environment for our students and staff. Your partnership is critical and we appreciate you following our school safety procedures. Also, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at email@example.com or at 714-424-7930.
Hugs to you and your family.
Principal, Davis Magnet School
"It's Not Happiness that Brings us Gratitude. It's Gratitude that Brings us Happiness." - Anonymous
Thanksgiving will be upon us later this month. It is a day that provides us the opportunity to express thanks and to count our blessings, big or small. Expressing gratitude does not have to be reserved for one day and according to the Children’s Bureau, studies have shown that there are proven benefits to instilling gratitude within our children. Below are some of the results from various research studies from around the country, followed by some ideas for parents to instill gratitude within your children.
Gratitude enhances empathy. According to a 2012 study conducted by the University of Kentucky, grateful people are more likely to engage in a prosocial manner, even in the face of aggression, negative feedback, or unkindness.
Gratitude has also been found to improve sleep and physical health. A study showed that grateful people experienced fewer aches, pains, and ailments than other people and overall lived healthier lives. Additionally, gratitude has been shown to improve self-esteem by reducing social comparisons and improving athletic and social confidence.
Finally, studies have also shown that expressing gratitude reduces stress, decreases toxic emotions, such as resentment, anger, envy, persistent sadness, and regret. Gratitude is connected to a sense of well-being, increasing happiness and reducing rates of depression.
Obviously there are many benefits to teaching, modeling, and practicing gratitude for children and adults. So how do we do that as parents besides enforcing proper manners in our children by saying, “Thank you?”
Below are a list of ideas to try out at home.
Books! Reading stories to students and to my own children is one of my favorite ways to teach lessons. Reading books with a specific purpose can prompt powerful conversations, plus teach children to look at things from the character’s perspectives. Two excellent resources with multiple book lists are www.the-best-childrens-books.org and readbrightly.com.
Have a Gratitude Jar on the kitchen table. Each night or once a week, every family member jots down something they are thankful for, shares it with the family, and then places it in the jar.
Write letters or thank you cards. I think this is a lost art, but getting a handwritten note can mean so much to the recipient. Possible recipients can include family members, friends, service men/women, and teachers.
Create a gratitude journal as a family or just for your child. Writing down the things we have to be thankful for can be a great resource when times are tough. Add pictures, drawings, or mementos.
Volunteer as a family. Giving your time to help others teaches children perspective and builds empathy. I am taking my daughter, who is almost 4, to an upcoming event where we will be packing boxes of canned food and hygiene kits for homeless families. Kids of all ages can get involved and there are many volunteer opportunities around Orange County to help people, animals, or our environment.
As you can see instilling gratitude should be done on a daily basis, not just on Thanksgiving. No matter how you decide to embed the importance of gratitude within your child, it will help your child grow up to be well-rounded, empathetic, and caring adults. Thank YOU for your partnership and working hard to raise grateful, empathetic, and kind individuals.
The Power of Yet - Developing our Growth Mindset
This month’s Growth Mindset focus is on “Empathy”, or the ability to see and understand the feelings of others. Building empathy is important, because it gives children a way to relate to their world and to others, and allows them to understand the impact and consequences of their actions. Empathy also helps children build stronger relationships with peers and adults, and fosters tolerance and understanding of differences. Adults with strong empathy skills have better mental health outcomes, more stable and positive relationships, and higher levels of happiness. Why wouldn’t we want our children to develop strong empathy skills? Learning about empathy doesn’t have to be boring, though! Here’s a short video that explains how to develop empathy skills in children, through play.
(majority of the content found in an article Posted by Goodstart 22 February 2018)
Spotlight on Kindergarten
Each month we will shine a special spotlight on one grade level at Davis Magnet School. This month our spotlight is shining brightly on our kindergarten classes!
Fall is an exciting time in Kindergarten! Students have been observing and describing their world using their five senses. Students were visited by the Costa Mesa Fire Department on October 29th to learn about fire safety. On October 31st, students used math, science, and writing skills to record data about pumpkins. Kindergarten students participated in their first Art Masters project of the year, based on artist Charles Sheeler’s work.
Our Kindergartners are continuously making strides in learning phonemic awareness, phonics, and sight words. In math, students are learning about patterns, shapes, counting, and comparing numbers. Davis Kindergartners are off to a great start and are looking to make this the best year yet!
Nutrition Nuggets - "Ideas for Getting Fruits & Veggies into Your Diet" By Pam Williams, NMUSD Nutritionist
The beginning of the school year can be quite busy and remembering to add fruits and vegetables to the diet is probably one of the last items on your to-do list. This year, why not plan ahead so that the habit of healthy eating does not disappear. Here are a few ideas to keep produce in our daily meals.
- Add berries, bananas, or other favorite fruits to your favorite low-sugared breakfast cereal.
- Prepack small bags of dried fruit and nuts to grab and go on your busiest days
- Mix fresh, canned or frozen fruit into plain yogurt on the weekend so that it is ready to go on Monday morning.
- Add lettuce, thinly sliced cucumbers or zucchini and other vegetables to a favorite cheese sandwich.
- Do you have leftover veggies from the grill? They make a nice addition to sandwiches and salads.
- Pack small apples and oranges in lunches for snacks or to take the place of dessert.
- Keep sliced vegetables in the refrigerator along with a yogurt dip. When the family gets hungry, provide them with the veggies and dip.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Be creative and keep healthy this school year.
Parenting Tip: Websites to "Help Our Kids Do Good"
We spend a lot of time talking about websites, YouTube videos, video games, and social media that are violent or negative. Yet, the internet is full of many POSITIVE opportunities for students to do good things and help others. Check out this link on www.commonsensemedia.org for some ideas and resources for students to engage with the internet in a positive way.