Dear Sprague Community, This is a busy week with the special town election and the famous Sprague Cookie Walk! I will be baking some of my daughter’s favorite chocolate chip cookies with the secret family recipe. As a clue, there is just a touch of milk in this recipe.  I am looking forward to finding other family favorites and am very impressed with the raffle offerings. I am sure it will be a fun family event! I have been told you can smell the sugar in the air! Today, I couldn’t tell if Jack Frost was nipping at my nose or if I was experiencing April showers. In any case, the weather does make it more difficult to get out and about in the morning. We have been noticing larger numbers of students arriving to school late. We certainly understand that some days can be more difficult than others but urge you to make every effort to help your child arrive at school on time. Teachers try to begin class at 8:30 and with many late arrivals, it becomes more difficult to get started with important instruction. Staff members will continue to be on duty in the mornings to help students out of cars and into school. Please be sure to drop off in the car line area ONLY. We worry about students crossing the driveway if they are not accompanied by a parent. Additionally, when cars stop in the parking lot area to let students out, it impedes the traffic flow.  We want to thank you for your patience in the car line. We know that sometimes it can take longer than expected. Written progress reports will be sent home on January 30th. During early January, teachers will be conducting mid-year assessments in reading and math. I have been in classrooms and seen how engaged your children are. In particular I have noticed the wonderful writing your children produce on a regular basis. I have to say that Sprague students really use their ‘voice’ in their writing and seem to enjoy expressing themselves in writing. This is a tribute to both the high quality instruction they receive at school and also the varied family experiences and ideas they wish to share. Cradles to Crayons Do you have any winter clothing that doesn’t fit your child? Well, you can donate it to Cradles to Crayons! Cradles to Crayons is a nonprofit organization that provides low-income or poverty-stricken children ages 12 and younger to strive at home, at school, and at play. There is a collection bin located between the two benches next to the main office.  Thank you for those who have already generously donated to Cradles to Crayons this drive, but it is ending soon and we are trying to serve many children in homeless or low-income situations! This Gear Up for Winter drive will end on December 12th. If you have any questions, please contact Ethan at I’d like to share a poem that is one of my favorites for this time of year:   What Shall We Give The Children?   What shall we give the children?   The holidays are almost here. Toys and games and playthings, As we do every year? Yes, for the magic of toyland Is part of the yuletide lore . . . To gladden the hearts of children, But I shall give something more.   I shall give them patience, A more sympathetic ear, A little more time for laughter . . . Or to tenderly dry a tear.   I shall take time to teach them The joy of doing some task. I’ll try to find time to answer More of the questions they ask.   Time to read books together, And take long walks in the sun. Time for a bedtime story, After the day is done.   I shall give all these to my children, Weaving a closer tie . . . Knitting our lives together, With the gifts that money cannot buy.   From the Nurse:                                           What causes children’s headaches? Children of all ages experience headaches and may even have them on a recurrent basis.  A number of factors, singly or in combination, can cause your child’s headache. These include:

  • Genetic predisposition: Headaches, especially migraines, tend to run in families.
  • Illness and infection: Headache is a frequent symptom of common childhood illnesses, including ear infections, strep throat, sinus infections, and colds.
  • Head trauma: Most head bumps are minor, but be sure to seek medical attention quickly if your child has dizziness, nausea, vomiting, blurred or double vision, ringing in the ears, any memory loss, poor coordination or emotional instability (anger, crying, anxiety) or has a steadily worsening headache after a bang on the head.
  • Environmental factors: Weather changes, odors, loud noises, bright light, and secondhand smoke can all cause headaches.
  • Emotional factors: Depression, stress, or anxiety, which may be affected by peer pressure, school problems, and family concerns, can lead to headaches.
  • Certain foods, food additives, and beverages: MSG (in foods like bacon, bologna, hot dogs) and caffeine (in soda, chocolate, coffee and tea) are known to trigger headaches.
  • Sleep deprivation: Overtiredness or a change in routine or sleep pattern may cause headaches in children.
  • Inadequate hydration or skipping meals: Lack of fluids or food can cause headaches.
  • Eyestrain: Schedule an eye exam if your child complains of headache and/or dizziness when reading and writing.

    What kind of headache does your child have?             Children get the same types of headaches adults do, but their symptoms may differ. For example, a migraine in an adult usually starts early in the morning, but a child’s is more likely to develop in the late afternoon. Also, migraine pain in children may last less than four hours, whereas in adults, migraines last at least four hours. Such differences may make it difficult to pinpoint headache type in a child, especially in a younger child who may be unable to list symptoms. Headaches are typically hard to describe, especially for children. Some headaches are related to stress, while others are the result of an illness or injury.  They are classified into two main categories — primary and secondary. Primary headaches develop by themselves rather than as a result of illness or injury. This category includes:

  • Tension-type headache. Often stress related, the most common of children’s headaches; the child may complain of a tightening or pressure in the head, neck and/or skull muscles; mild to moderate nonpulsating pain on both sides of the head; pain that is not worsened by activity nor accompanied by nausea or vomiting. Tension-type headaches can last from 30 minutes to several days.
  • Migraine. Approximately 5 percent of school-age children experience migraines. Before children reach puberty, migraines affect about the same number of boys as girls, but in the teen years, girls tend to have migraines more often. A migraine may be disabling, causing pulsating, throbbing or pounding head pain, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and extreme sensitivity to light and sound. Children may also have all of the signs of a migraine with no head pain, known as an abdominal migraine. Unlike tension-type headaches, migraines often occur during nonstressful or recreational times and the pain worsens with exertion.
  • Cluster headache. The least common type of headache in children, usually disabling with sharp, stabbing pain on one side of the head that lasts from 15 minutes to three hours, occurs in groups of five or more episodes ranging from once every other day to eight in one day, and may be accompanied by teariness, congestion, runny nose and/or agitation.
  • Chronic daily headache. (CDH) is a term for migraine headaches and tension-type headaches that occur more than 15 days a month for more than three months. CDH may be caused by an infection, minor head injury or taking pain medications — even nonprescription pain medications — too often.

Secondary headaches result from some underlying condition, such as fever, cold virus, strep throat, head trauma, sinus or ear infection, medication side effects, meningitis, temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) or other jaw-related problems.  Preventing children’s headaches Measures that promote general good health will prevent all but the occasional headache in a child:

  • Adequate rest. Children need plenty of sleep on a regular schedule, at least 9 hours a day.
  • A healthy diet and fluids. Children need to eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and nutritious snacks throughout the day. Be sure your child drinks enough water, particularly in hot weather and after strenuous activity.
  • Take steps at the first sign of a headache. When your child develops a headache, encourage him or her to take a nap — if possible, in a dark, quiet room.
  • Keep a headache diary. Note times and places that headaches occur. Describe behaviors or events that happen with headaches. Information from the diary will help identify possible headache triggers. Be sure to wait for the child to volunteer that he/she has a headache rather than asking.
  • Avoid stressors. Be alert for things that may be causing stress in your child’s life, such as difficulty doing schoolwork or strained relationships with peers.
  • Exercise. Regular aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming or biking, can help reduce the frequency and intensity of headaches.  Exercise relieves stress, relaxes muscles and increases the levels of the body’s natural stress relievers.                                                                                                                                                                                                                

When to Call the MD Seek your pediatrician’s advice if your child has recurrent headaches or any episode of head pain severe enough to keep him/her out of school or other activities, if the pain wakes him/her from sleep, worsens or becomes increasingly frequent, is accompanied by personality changes, features persistent vomiting or visual changes, or is accompanied by fever with neck pain or stiffness. As always, please contact me if you have any questions. Sharon Mark your calendar: Dec. 11: Cookie Walk Dec. 11: Field trip for Grade 5 (MFA) and “Bugworks” program for Grade 3 Dec. 12: Count Me In program for Kindergarten Dec. 16: School Committee Meeting with Budget Presentation Dec. 24-Jan. 4: Winter Break Jan. 5: Classes resume Jan. 16: Winter Concert featuring Chorus, Band, and Orchestra at 9 AM—Families invited Jan. 30: Written Progress Reports sent home

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Weekly note from Ms. Snyder–December 9, 2014
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