What’s Happening In Our Class This Week
For the past week, we have been inquiring into the relationships we have at school with our classmates or peers, teachers, principals, nannies, nurses, classroom visitors and helpers, and many other members of our school community.
Focusing on our Unit’s Lines of Inquiry: Building relationships with people around us, we have explored the Key Concept of Responsibility and the Related Concept of Relationships, as we endeavour to answer the question: What is our responsibility when building relationships?
We have been practicing taking care of our relationships by thinking about how others feel and acting in ways that foster and grow our relationships. We do this by caring and respecting others. We have been using our manners (saying “Please”; “Thank you”; “Excuse me”.), listening when others are speaking, taking turns and sharing, and working together.
Last week, Kelso the frog taught us about problem solving and that it is our responsibility to fix/solve problems that happen in our relationships and make them better. We already learned how to tell others to stop, talk through our problems, and apologize when necessary and we mean it. This week, we will specifically focus on some other Kelso’s Choices: Share and take turns, Make a deal, Go to another game, and Wait and cool off.
Sharing and taking turns goes hand in hand with making a deal. For example, if two children want the same toy, they can make a deal and say, “I will use the doctor toys to check and see if the baby is healthy. You can have it when I am finished.” And then the other child will wait until the first child is done to take his/her turn.
Going to another game is a great solution when there are too many children playing at or with something. They can go find something else to play and then revisit the choice when there is more space. Alternatively, if children are fighting and they have not been able to use one of Kelso’s Choices to help them solve the problem, the teacher may direct the children to go to another game since they cannot get along doing the current activity.
Wait and cool off is a great tool to use with children, when their energy or emotions are too much to continue appropriately or safely. For example, if a child is not playing out on the playground safely, the teacher may direct the child to “Wait and cool off” by saying, “I noticed that what you are doing right now is not safe. You need to wait and cool off before you can rejoin your friends safely.” This would be followed by a few minutes during which the child can calm down and a discussion about the unsafe behaviour and what needs to be done instead. In our class, we will also be ready a book called Moody Cow Meditates by Kerry Lee MacLean. In this book, Moody Cow has a terrible day and he is so angry. His grandfather teaches him to calm down using a mindfulness jar–a jar they fill with sparkles and water where the sparkles represent the bad things that happened or the angry ideas. When Moody Cow is upset, they shake the jar to swirl all the sparkles around. Then, after some time when all the sparkles have settled, Moody Cow’s emotions have also settled and he is ready to continue his day. We will be making mindfulness jars for our classroom so that we can use these as a tool to help our PreKs calm down when necessary.
Using all of Kelso’s Choices will help our students become great problem solvers and feel as if they can interact and communicate effectively with all the people they interact with on a daily basis. They will also learn how to build their relationships and take responsibility for these relationships.
At Home Connections
This week, you can support the learning in our classroom by reinforcing the positive language and behaviour we are teaching to the class. Using Kelso’s Choices to solve problems at home will magnify the importance of being good problem solvers and that they can, in fact, solve problems with minor assistance.
You can also make and use a mindfulness jar at home! Here are the instructions from the Moody Cow Meditates book:
Another thing we are teaching the kids this week is to control their impulses by using mindfulness and model of the brain using their hand. While people often think we cannot teach our youngsters to control their impulses and understand the brain and how it works, this teaching concept of mindfulness has proven very successful in schools around the world.
Here is a video from Daniel Siegel (of no relation to me), that shows how we can teach mindfulness and well-being using the brain hand model and exploring the relationships between neuroscience and well-being.
**Note: The October Calendar has been updated to reflect the Picture Day. It is posted on the “Calendars” page of our blog**
Tuesday, October 18th: Picture Day. Students wear their regular uniforms.
Thursday, October 27th: Free Dress Day. Children can come in non-uniform clothes that are appropriate for school.
Sunday, October 30th: No School for Students. Staff Professional Development Day.