Dear Sprague Community,
As we begin new school year, I’d like to welcome Sprague students and families! We begin with 23 new friends joining our community in grades 1-5 and 66 new kindergartners. I know you will join me in welcoming them all. New families and kindergarten families are invited to a Popsicle Playdate on Tuesday, August 30th . Kindergartners visit classrooms at 2:00 pm and the Popsicle Playdate starts between 2:45 and 3:00 pm outside.
I am looking forward to seeing all the smiling faces on Wednesday, August 31st, which is a half-day for all students in grades K-5. Kindergartners continue with half days and 12:00 dismissal times until their first full day of school on Monday, September 12th.
Please remember to follow our drop off and pick up routines by parking in a lined space in the lot if you want to walk your child to his/her line or pick up on the playground. Carline is a convenient option for parents who wish to stay in their vehicles. Cars line up inside the cones next to the sidewalk and teachers on duty will call for children via walkie-talkie. Please put a sign with your last name on the dashboard for Carline.
I have attached a note that contains basic information about our school. Please read it even if you are not new to Sprague as it is updated each year. Because we are committed to maintaining a safe environment for all students, we ask that students in “Allergy Aware” classrooms be careful to bring ‘nut-free’ snacks and refrain from eating items containing nuts or other allergens in the classroom. If your child’s classroom is “Allergy Aware,” you will receive a letter from our school nurse. There are ‘allergy aware’ tables in our cafeteria during lunchtimes. For this and other reasons, we ask that students not share food at school.
The School Committee has adopted a new Policy Guide for this year. One new policy relates to dogs on school property. Dogs are no longer allowed on school property. I know this is a change, so please let friends know of this change if you think they don’t already know. Thank you for your help.
In Wellesley, we are committed to providing an environment that fosters the development of social and emotional skills as well as academic growth. The Wellesley Public Schools live by core values: Respect for Human Differences, Caring and Cooperative Relationships, Academic Excellence, and Commitment to Community. At Sprague, we also live by our H.E.A.R.T. values—Helping, Effort for Excellence, Acceptance and Appreciation, Respect and Responsibility, and Teamwork. We believe that social/emotional learning is as important as academic learning. As Dr. Lussier said when he addressed the faculty and staff before school started, “we want to support good students who are good people.” I know you want to do the same. I have copied an article I found on gratitude that I thought you might enjoy.
See you on Wednesday!
Nurturing Gratitude in Kids 365 Days a Year!
7 simple ways to boost gratitude in kids and learn to count their blessings 365 days a year!
Let’s start with a reality check: We’re seeing an upsurge–even in a tight economy–of kids who are a bit too spoiled, a bit too unappreciative, a bit too self-centered and a bit more ungrateful for all the good things life has to offer.
Of course we want our kids to be happy and give them what they want. But have you noticed that sometimes our best intentions backfire? Instead of our kids being grateful for what they are given, they are disappointed or always seem to want “more?” In all fairness, there are a number of factors that curtail our kids from being appreciative about the good things of life. For starters:
~ A relentless consumption-driven media that pushes kid to think they need more and a fast-paced lifestyle that leaves little time to help kids count their blessings.
~ There is the also the sometimes overwhelming impact of troubling news that focuses on the bad parts of life instead of helping kids appreciate the good.
~ Sometimes it’s our guilt for not being home enough, or those competitive instincts that compel us to keep up with the Jones, so we lavish our kids with the latest and best of everything.
Whatever the cause for the lack of appreciation, there is one crucial reason we must change for our kids’ sake.
Compelling research now proves that the happiest children are the ones who feel a sense of appreciation for life—and that’s regardless of their wealth or personal circumstances.
Those studies show that because kids feel grateful they are actually more joyful, determined, optimistic, resilient, less stressed and even healthier.
If you hope your child can achieve these traits (and what parent doesn’t) then you must replace any hint of an ungrateful attitude with gratitude. The good news is that there are also simple proven strategies to make that change happen for your child. Here are a few ways to boost an attitude of gratitude in our children – 365 days a year!
7 Simple Ways to Boost Kid Gratitude
1. Model Gratitude
Kids learn gratitude by seeing others display appreciation in everyday, unplanned moments.
How often do your kids see you convey your appreciation with hugs, words, or small notes to others?
How often do you tell your kids how much you appreciate them?
Tune up your attitude of gratitude so your kids are more likely to copy your examples.
2. Set Limits
Having too much squelches appreciation. So fight the tendency to overindulge your child these new weeks with too many things.
Always giving kids what they want does not help kids learn to be grateful and appreciative of what they have.
3. Thank Your Kids
Don’t overlook your kids’ daily thoughtful deeds. Just be sure to tell them what they did that you appreciate so they are more likely to copy your example and send their own “appreciation messages” to others.
4. Expose Children to the Less Fortunate
Face-to-face experiences can go a long way in helping kids appreciate their blessings.
So find ways for you and your child to do charitable work (playing with kids in a homeless shelter, reading to the blind, building low-cost house, or delivering meals for the bed-ridden).
My girlfriend set a family tradition years ago. Every Thanksgiving her family goes to a soup kitchen to help serve dinner to the less fortunate. Her children-now grown-say it was the best family memory of the holidays. They learned from their parents’ example the importance of giving to others. Do the same ritual during the Christmas season, and then weave it into every other season, holiday, weekend or day.
The more children practice gratitude the greater the odds that they will adopt it as a habit and life attitude.
5. Say: ‘Thank you” and expect your kids to do so!
Parents who raise grateful kids don’t do so by accident. They expect their kids to be appreciative and saying, “thank you” is required from the time their kids learn to talk.
Keep in mind that kids may need constant reminders: “Did you remember to thank Jeff’s mom?” Don’t overlook their slips: “You can call to thank her when you get home.”
6. Understand the Emotion Behind the Gesture
A hard lesson for kids to learn is that they’re really thanking the person not for the gift but the thoughtfulness behind it.
“Grandma thought a lot about what to give you this year.” “Kevin went to five stores to try to find what would make you happiest.”
Keep reinforcing the thought that went into the deed. Practice with your child before the birthday, the family reunion, the holidays or any occasion where you child may be receiving a gift. Help him or her learn how to be appreciative.
7. Count Your Blessings
Have children count their blessings every day and reflect upon the good things in their lives. Here are a few ideas:
~ Review the good things. Help your children “Count their Blessings” every night by just reviewing all the things they are grateful for. Our children are exposed to so much of the doom and gloom about life. Let’s help our children reflect on the simple, wonderful good things in our lives that we so often take for granted.
~ Say “Thank you ABCs.” This one is great for younger kids to do at the dinner table. You and your kids say the alphabet together, but for each letter include something you are grateful for: A, Aunt Helen; B, my brother; C, my cat and so on. Take it up one notch by having the person explain why he is grateful. Families with small kids rarely get beyond H, but the point is that you’re having fun together, and your kids are also learning to be appreciative. Older kids can reveal one thing they are grateful for that happened to them during the day and why.
~ Create Bedtime Family Blessings. Each child exchanges messages of appreciation for one another, followed by a goodnight hug and kiss.
Enjoy these next days with your family and your time together. Just don’t forget to pause and count your blessings together and review all the things –both big and little–you are grateful for. After all, isn’t that what families are all about.
This article is an excerpt from The Big Book of Parenting Solutions. For a complete guide to boosting your child’s character refer to the chapters on Ungrateful, Spoiled and Selfish, Bad Manners which offers signs to worry, research-based strategies and proven solutions, as well as dozens of new habits to teach your child to replace inappropriate ones.