Dear Parents and Guardians,
We find ourselves in very strange times. I encourage you to plug into some present moment awareness and connect with all that you are grateful for, as we navigate the complex response to COVID-19. Please also continue to visit the district website for the most up-to-date information.
Despite present challenges, I am grateful to be an educator, and especially school Principal of Corodva Bay. As of this year, I have worked in public education for 25 years, and I continue to be amazed at how quickly the school year flies by....Psychology research tells us that a flow state, also known colloquially as being in the zone, is the mental state in which a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. In essence, flow is characterized by the complete absorption in what one does, and a resulting transformation in one's sense of time. I suppose being fully engaged in the work I love has truly made time vanish. And yet, it is the moments I share daily with your children that do not vanish and are etched in my memory.
During small quiet moments and during bigger moments, I have seen so much growth in our students. Since my post in December, when I shared some ideas for home support around the development of the Creative and Critical Thinking Core competencies, I have seen tremendous progress in your children in these competencies. Thank you to those of you who have shared some of your successes in this area. I always love hearing your stories and learning more about your children and their interests outside of school.
As we head in to our last term, I would like to share some ideas for cultivating the Personal and Social Competency, as we know that success in this competency is key to our successful development as a human on this planet!
The Personal and Social competency is the set of abilities that relate to students' identity in the world, both as individuals and as members of their community and society. Personal and social competency encompasses what students need to thrive as individuals, to understand and care about themselves and others, and to find and achieve their purposes in the world. This is our key work as parents, a child’s “first teacher,” and work that staff at Cordova Bay take very seriously, as we have the privilege of working with your child each day for six hours.
The Personal and Social Competency can be supported at home in the following ways:
· Celebrate successes both BIG and small with a treat (my family’s favourite is a MOSI compost cookie), a family movie, a favourite meal or a family game night. Take a quick pic on your phone and review them at the end of the month to revisit successes and then build on them. A child who has strong personal competency skills can tell you what they are good at, what they are proud of and what challenges they have. Celebrating their strengths gives them courage to try new things and creates an excitement to do well. Take a look at term two reports and CELEBRATE!
· Children, even at an early age, are keen to have adults clearly articulate the expectations and boundaries. There is freedom and security within structure. Share your family values during scheduled family meetings, impromptu couch cafes (chats with family and friends about what is important to your family – e.g. time together, device free times or mealtimes together) and bedtime banter (e.g. reading before bed provides lots of opportunities for making great connections to a child’s life, favourite movies and other books that have been read). Kids love to make connections, and we know that this strengthens positive neural pathways.
· Socially responsible children know how they can be of service and will seek ways to be helpful. Acknowledge your child’s contributions to family life, even if it is something as simple as getting their coat and boots on in a timely manner so you can get out the door for work on time. One of the cool tricks I learned a long time ago was to not ask things like “Will you please sweep the floor?” but instead to frame it as “Will you be the sweeper?” Strangely, having a role makes kiddos very proud and more likely to engage. Ask me how this worked out for me, after spring break, with my two teen daughters…..
· One of the key pieces to Personal Awareness and Responsibility is self-advocacy. At some point (this is very different for every child) your child will be able to name the adults who are there to help them. However, in order to seek help, a child must develop the skills to do so first. Ask your child who they feel comfortable asking for help and then support them with developing their courage to do so. Role play is a good way to build this confidence. Pretend you are the teacher, Principal or an Educational Assistant and have your child ask for help. When a child shares, as adults, it is imperative that we create perspective. Thank the child for sharing and then ask them what they think might be going on for the other child….It always amazes me how intuitive children are in knowing that the other child is often struggling with something too and is not just “mean” but sad, tired, frustrated, etc. When problems arise at school, a trusted adult can talk it out with your child in a timely fashion and work out any concerns, fears or worries, prior to heading home. There is a great sense of power and pride for children that comes with being able to say that they had a problem, sought out a helper and worked it out. It is our hope that your child’s conversation with you, at the end of their day, will be about their success that day in resolving any issues that arose.
· Personal awareness involves making amends and fixing mistakes. At Cordova Bay, we follow a 4-step apology. I offer it here to support any sibling troubles over the break!
Student 4 –Step Apology
I am sorry for…..
· admit responsibility
· be specific (I am sorry for saying that nobody wants to be your friend)
I am sorry because…
· helpful vs hurtful (prompt: Was it helpful or hurtful to kick Paul in the knee?)
· show you understand why the person would be upset, sad, angry, frustrated, etc.
Next time, I will….
· Use positive language (tell the person what you WILL do NOT what you WON’T do next time)
· This is a chance to share the tools that they will use to avoid future conflict: WITS, taught calming strategies, break tools, etc.
Do you accept my apology?
· I always let students know, prior to asking this question, that the other person may not be ready to accept the apology (perhaps feelings or physical body are too hurt to accept at the time of apology)
· We can always ask again/check-in later…..
· Some students are able to find ways to make things right (card, kind act, etc.)
Thank you everyone for your partnership. Wishing you all a healthy spring break!
Mrs. Mary Lynn Heron