Weekly Updates

New Lebanon School

¿Necesita leer nuestro boletín en español?

¿Necesita leer nuestro boletín en español? Haga clic en cualquier parte de este correo electrónico, desplácese hasta la parte inferior y haga clic en traducir. Luego, seleccione español, y el boletín debería aparecer en español. ¡Gracias!

Spring Forward - Daylight Saving Time!

A friendly reminder that we set our clocks forward one hour this Saturday night into Sunday Morning!
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Note from Superintendent Dr. Toni Jones Re: COVID-19

Dear GPS Parents,

At this time, there have been no reported cases of Coronavirus in the Town of Greenwich or the State of Connecticut. However, there have been confirmed cases in Westchester County, NY and the broader tristate area. You may hear that, out of an abundance of caution, an elementary school in Port Chester, NY closed early this afternoon to conduct deep cleaning after students arrived at school having had a family member who may have been in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus. We continue to monitor the overall situation, taking guidance from the Town of Greenwich Health Department, CT State Department of Health, and the Center for Disease Control on any necessary action.

As a reminder, our Facilities Team Members are working overtime to conduct deep cleaning in all of our schools every evening.

For previously shared resources, please visit our Health Services page, which includes helpful information about how to discuss this issue with your children (National Public Radio (NPR) created a helpful cartoon and the National Association of School Psychologists shared a robust list of guidelines).

Thank you,

Dr. Toni Jones

Superintendent, Greenwich Public Schools

Internet at Home!

In the event of a temporary school closure, we want to ensure that all of our students are able to continue learning through online tools and virtual classrooms. If your student does not have internet in your home, please reach out to Alley Bartholomew (Ms. B.) directly, so we can support your student!

March is "BE HERE" Month at New Leb

We can practice with it means to "Be Here" through mindfulness, a practice many of our teachers use in their classrooms. See below for ways to teach mindfulness to all children!
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Six Ways To Teach Mindfulness to Children

Whether you’re an educator, a parent or a caregiver, you can teach mindfulness to the children in your life.

Here are six simple ways to do just that.

Oh, and before you begin your mindfulness exercise, make sure to turn off any distractions, such as television or video games, and be sure cell phones are silenced.

1. Mindful Breathing

Ask children to sit comfortably and then close their eyes. Draw their attention to their breathing, telling them to feel the sensation of breath coming into and out of the body.

You can have them put their hands on their stomach to feel the gentle rise and fall with each breath, as this will help them keep focused. Alternatively, you may ask them to repeat the word “in” and “out” as they inhale and exhale, or you may say it for them.

Do this for about five breath cycles (five inhales and exhales). At the end of the five breaths, guide their attention to any thoughts and feelings that may be present (and any possible differences in how they feel now compared with how they felt before the practice).

Ask them to then let those thoughts and feelings go as they return their focus to their breath, then repeat the breathing cycle (as many times as feels appropriate).

2. Mindfulness Sound Game

Have the child or children begin by focusing on their breathing (as above) . After about five breath cycles, tell the children they’re going to hear a sound, and that they should focus on this sound as it gets softer and softer.

Instruct them to raise their hand when they no longer hear the sound. Play a sound for the children. This sound can be a bell, Tingsha (Tibetan meditation chimes), a “singing” bowl, a rain stick, or you can strike a note on a piano… any sound that will resonate and gradually evanesce will do.

Return to five breathing cycles. You can repeat this exercise a couple of times if you like, if the children are receptive to continue.

3. Mindful Eating Game

If you’re sharing a meal or a snack with children, tell them you’re going to make it an exercise in mindfulness.

Start with the breathing exercises. Invite children to be mindful of their food— of the aroma, of the feel of the food (or the feel of the spoon in their hand).

Tell them to take a bite of food and chew slowly. If they’re holding a utensil, ask them to put it down until they finish chewing and swallowing. Have them chew slowly for 20 or 30 seconds, asking them to notice the taste and the texture.

Repeat five cycles of breathing, then repeat with another bite if desired.

4. Walking Mindfully

Eventually you’ll want to show the kiddies that mindfulness is not just for sitting still. Go for a short walk with them and teach them to be mindful while in motion. Have them start with focusing on the breath, then as you begin walking invite them to notice how the ground feels under their feet as they walk, what the movement of the body feels like when in motion.

You could draw their attention to feeling other associated sensations of walking like the clothing moving against their skin or the breeze moving through their hair. Aim to guide them to feel these sensations and not to get into labeling them or thinking about them. Every now and then you can suggest they return their attention to their breathing to help keep them in focus.

5. Mindful Play

Put out some finger paints, a water or sand table or any kind of fun activity into which kids can really get their hands into. You can have them begin the exercise with their breathing cycles.

As they play, guide them to be fully present in the moment whenever they get distracted. You can focus on their senses— what they see, hear, feel and smell. Invite them to notice how the water slips through their fingers or runs down their arm, how sand shifts and pours out of the hand or how the colors of finger paints swirl together to blend into new colors.

Allow them to go for as long as they’re engaged in the activity and see how long they focus on it. You can end the play session with five breathing cycles.

6. The Hunting Game

When I was little I would often go out into the back yard and pretend that I was hunting. I wasn’t really after a particular ‘target’ but rather, I just loved the feeling of ‘hunting’. I would walk between the trees slowly and deliberately with zen-like focus listening out for every sound and watching for the slightest movements in my environment.

In this way I was totally immersed in my senses and fully engrossed in the present moment. Not thinking at all – just sensing. Every now and then I would see a small animal and maybe stop to study it closely in silence.

I didn’t realize it at the time but it was a practice of mindfulness. What is the state of a hunter? Highly alert, but not thinking. That’s mindfulness! So you could play the hunting game with your child to get them into a state of mindfulness.

Perhaps go out into the garden or yard together (or play inside) and tell them they have to be very quiet and slow as you go on your hunt. Guide them to be highly alert and use their senses fully. You can tell them to be very ‘quiet inside’ so that they can ‘listen’ to the world around them so they can discover a creature or what ever you go on a hunt for.

You could deepen this practice by getting your child to practice the mindful breathing exercise first. This activity may be a particularly good one for boys and for children who are highly active.

Extra Tips!

Mindfulness sessions are best, for many children, when kept short (five minutes or less) but you may find some children are able to do longer sessions depending on age and temperament.

If children are fidgety at first, or uncomfortable with sitting quietly and being mindful, encourage them gently to keep trying and praise their efforts. Keep introducing it and practicing in short bursts until the child becomes more accustomed. To encourage their cooperation, make it a pleasant experience— spend time afterwards sharing your perceptions during the practice, cuddling or doing something they enjoy.

With regular practice, you’ll find kids not only getting better at the techniques, but using them of their own accord. Their ability to be mindful can help them with challenges they may encounter into adulthood.

Books for Children about Mindfulness - Click on Blue Links to Further Explore and Purchase Books

1. A Handful of Quiet: Happiness in Four Pebbles by Thich Nhat Hanh

This book teaches children to employ pebble meditation, a technique created by Nobel Peace Prize–nominee Thich Nhat Hanh that involves connecting with nature in a tactile way. Kids can follow the steps outlined in the book to use rocks as a vehicle to cultivate quiet in the mind.

2. Peaceful Piggy Meditation by Kerry Lee Maclean

Maclean's books do extraordinary work in helping children feel validated for having feelings of anger, doubt, and worry — and then offering coping strategies that employ mindfulness techniques. In this book, kids will read about piggies using meditation to deal with feelings of frustration. These books are a favorite in our household because they both tell a story and offer practical tools.

3. What Does It Mean To Be Present? by Rana DiOrio

Through stunning illustrations, this book helps children answer the title question — what does it meant to be present? Readers will explore concrete examples of what it means to be in the moment, and sharing the book will take parents to a calm place as well. When I’ve had a long day, I find that reading this book (and others on the list) with my child helps me regroup.

4. Take the Time: Mindfulness for Kids by Maud Roegiers

The style and pace of this story will be soothing to young readers. With its soft colors and gentle brushwork, the book illustrates ways in which kids can slow down and appreciate every moment, from thinking about the effect their words will have on others to focusing on the feeling of receiving a hug.

5. Silence by Lemniscates

In the world of a child, silence is hard to come by. This book, created by renowned Barcelona-based artist Lemniscastes, encourages young readers to seek silence and consider it an opportunity for reflection and for listening to one’s heart.

6. Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents) by Eline Snel (Author), Myla Kabat-Zinn (Reader), Jon Kabat-Zinn (Foreword)

The Kabat-Zinn family is revered in the world of mindfulness. Their involvement with this fun manual for kids and parents gives this book a serious pedigree. “Sitting Still Like a Frog” includes a 60-minute CD of mindfulness activities for the all to share.

7. Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth

Muth's work on mindfulness for children began well before the Zen trend hit the bookshelves. Using Stillwater — his trademark panda character — and thoughtful prose, his stories are a must for those wanting to cultivate calm in their children. This selection, honored by the Caldecott committee, features three siblings interacting with Stillwater as he tells them ancient Zen stories.

8. Anh's Anger by Gail Silver

Anh gets really angry at his grandfather for interrupting his playtime and calling the family to the dinner table. Instead of scolding Anh for his outburst, the grandfather encourages him to go and sit with his anger. Using this narrative, Silver offers a powerful lesson in honoring and recognizing one's emotions in the present. Her book Steps and Stones does similar work.

9. Visiting Feelings by Lauren Rubenstein

Using rhyme, this story encourages children to invite emotions into their lives, embracing all feelings equally instead of labeling or judging them. The swirling colors and dreamlike illustrations make this book perfect for a bedtime read.

10. Good Night Yoga: A Pose-by-Pose Bedtime Story by Mariam Gates

Yoga is an excellent practice to help children quiet their minds. By using physical poses to maintain a sense of presence, yoga clears the mind of distraction and invites one into the present moment. This book adds poses to the story so readers can stretch and unwind while enjoying the text. Another excellent yoga read with explanations of poses is I Am Yoga.

MARCH PARENT TEACHER CONFERENCES (K-5)! If you have not yet scheduled your conference, please call, email or dojo your teacher ASAP!

REMINDER - March Conference times are below:

March 11th from 1:00pm - 6:00pm and March 18th from 2:45pm - 6:45pm.

If you have not yet scheduled your conference, please call, email, or dojo your teacher ASAP!

REMINDER: Pre-Conference Questionnaires are due to teachers on Monday, March 9th! Thank you!

Check Out Our Week at New Leb!

Important Upcoming Dates at New Leb!

Sunday, March 8th, 1:30pm-3:00pm: Family Skate-at Dorothy Hamill Rink

Monday, March 9th, 9am-10am: Incoming Kindergarten Orientation, New Leb Media Center

Wednesday, March 11th: Early Release Day, Students Dismissed at 12:45pm. Please check with after school programs to see if they are open or not!

Wednesday, March 11th, 1pm-6pm: Parent-Teacher Conferences

NEW DATE: Wednesday, March 11th, 4:30pm-6:30pm: New Leb Art Show @ Byram Shubert Library - stop by before or after your conference to see student work!

Wednesday, March 11th, 5pm-6:30pm: GPS 2020 Community Service Awards Ceremony @ Greenwich High School Performing Arts Center

NEW DATE: Tuesday, March 17th, 5:30pm: District Art Show Opening Reception @ Greenwich Arts Council (299 Greenwich Ave.)

Wednesday, March 18th, 2:45pm-6:45pm: Parent-Teacher Conferences

Week of March 16th: Incoming Kindergarten Student Registration

Friday, March 27th, 8am-9am: Families join our 1st Grade IB Celebration

Saturday, March 28th, 5pm: Spaghetti Dinner!

Wednesday, April 1st, 6:00pm-7:30pm: 5th Grade IB Exhibition - all are welcome!

SPRING BREAK starts on Friday April 10th (no school on Good Friday). We return to school on Monday, April 20th.

65 Ways to Be A Reader!

Community Center Inc. (CCI) is celebrating 65 years of partnering with Greenwich schools to support students and families. CCI is a social service agency dedicated to building skills that empower clients to overcome educational, social, and economic barriers so that they can reach their full potential. CCI organizes Homework Club, summer programs, after-school reading groups, and provides individual counseling to students and families.

To commemorate this amazing achievement, CCI has invited New Lebanon students to take part in a reading incentive program. Your children received an activity sheet called, “65 Ways to Be a Reader, ” where they can choose as many reading activities as they like from the attached. They do not have to complete all 65 to be part of the fun! Have your child color in each task that they complete and return to your teacher by Friday, March 27th.

On Friday, March 27th, when your child submits their65 Ways to Be a Reader” form they will:

  • earn a cool “I love to read” wristband.

  • be entered to win a pizza party for their class, an ice cream party for their class.

  • be entered in a raffle with other participating schools for a brand new bike for themselves.

Spaghetti Dinner - See You There!

Please be sure to register for the Spaghetti Dinner, so you can expedite check in during the event!
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Annual New Lebanon Skating Day - Tomorrow!

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Summer 2020

Have you made plans for Summer 2020? Please see information below about how to set up an appointment to receive a scholarship for your student. Camps that offer scholarships are listed below, too!

More information will be available at Parent-Teacher conferences!

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Evening Adult ESL Classes - Every Tuesday and Thursday!

Tuesday, Feb. 4th, 6:30-8:30pm

New Lebanon School Media Center

New adults are always welcome! No children, please.