Dear Sprague Community,
Nothing like 3 storms in 10 days…that’s what the TV meteorologists keep saying.
This week, some schools in Wellesley are planning something to recognize the efforts made by students and teachers across the country to encourage open dialogue about school safety. Many researchers suggest that the key to change is building strong communities and strong relationships among students and between students and adults. On Wednesday, March 14, Sprague teachers are planning a letter writing project that takes advantage of our WEE Deliver system and builds on the work we are already doing around HEART values and kindness. Students in each grade will write a letter to someone in a class one year younger than their grade. (Kindergartners will write to 5th graders.) In this way, EVERY student at Sprague should receive a letter by next week. Suggestions for things that students may include in their letters are: something they love about the Sprague community, something they plan to make an extra effort to improve, telling the recipient we are glad they part of the Sprague community.
At our school gathering this week, we plan to read a children’s story called, “Ripple’s Effect” by Shawn Achor and Amy Blankson. It is about a dolphin who spreads happiness that becomes contagious. In the story, Ripple’s trainer tells her, “Dolphins were made to play and laugh and smile. It’s part of who you are—but happiness is also a choice. Things may not always go our way, but we can choose how we see the world and make it a better place because of who we are.”
Kids are also made to play and laugh and smile and we tell them they make Sprague a better place by spreading happiness and kindness. I am including an excerpt from an article for parents by Shawn Achor. In it, he suggests being “dolphin parents.”
“Article by Sandra Bienkowski | Oct 11, 2013
If you want to raise happy and successful kids, model the traits of a dolphin, says Shawn Achor, author of Before Happiness and The Happiness Advantage, and Harvard researcher. Be playful, friendly, intelligent and social. Dolphin parents raise positive kids, and that sets the stage for future success, Shawn says.
Many parents think success first, happiness second, but that’s not how it works. Happiness fuels success and not the other way around, Achor says. The problem with putting success before happiness is that success is a moving target—once you achieve a victory (something you thought would bring happiness) you push the goalpost out, so happiness keeps getting pushed over the horizon. The same philosophy applies to your kids. Parents can increase the likelihood of raising successful kids by focusing on creating a positive environment for their kids because happiness and optimism fuel performance and achievement. “Cultivating positive brains makes us more motivated, efficient, resilient, creative and productive, which drives performance,” Shawn says .To embrace dolphin parenting, Shawn says you need to prioritize happiness and positivity in the present. Here are some ways to do it:
· Create a positive environment for your kids by modeling optimism. Remember that the lens through which you see the world shapes your reality—and the reality for your kids.
· Teach your kids to openly express gratitude for three things a day—at the dinner table or before they go to bed each night. Encourage your kids to come up with new things each day. “It gets their brains to operate from a positive place, think about their strengths and cultivate optimism.”
· Exercise a little bit each day. “Exercise teaches your brain that what you do matters,” Achor says.
· Encourage your kids to journal about positive experiences. They get to relive happy memories.
· Make learning fun. Instead of rewarding your kids after they finish homework (delayed gratification), look for creative ways to make the process of doing their homework more enjoyable.
· Encourage your kids to connect and create deep social support with their friends.
· Change how your kids view stress. Help them see stress as a challenge and not a threat.
· Show your kids how to be open to possibilities and make goals attainable. Focus on the positive by reminding kids of past accomplishments to fuel future accomplishments. Break those bigger goals into smaller objectives so kids are encouraged and goals seem reachable.
· Have your child write a positive note to someone in their life.
· Have fun and smile.
“What we really want is not only to get parents to teach these habits to children, but to model the habits. As the parent becomes more peaceful, calm, compassionate and positive, it becomes easier for the child to respond and do these things as well,” Shawn says.
The key is to cultivate happiness in the present moment. When kids are happy and have a positive outlook, success is likely to follow, Shawn says. “When we believe positivity is important in the present, I think we will see a very different future.””
Please see the Sprague After School Enrichment Offerings below. Registration is through Wellesley Recreation Dept. Directions are included on the flyer and begin March 16th.
Dates to remember:
March 15: Grade 5 vs. Faculty Basketball Game at 4 PM
March 21: Teacher Appreciation Luncheon sponsored by PTO at 12
March 23: Open House 8:00-9:30 AM (School Gathering/Teacher video shown at 9:15 in the gym.)
March 30: No school—Good Friday
MCAS Schedule 2018
ELA- 2 sessions
Math- 2 sessions
Science – 2 sessions (grade 5 only)
April 2, 5: Grade 4 ELA
April 9, 10: Grade 5 ELA
April 12, 13: Grade 3 ELA
May 7, 8: Grade 4 Math
May 10, 11: Grade 5 Math
May 14, 15: Grade 3 Math
May 17, 18: Grade 5 Science