February 2016 SFF Newsletter

Posted On Feb 02 2016 | BY School for Friends

Director’s Report

Snow Days!  Hunkering down!

 STAFF NEWS –

  • Sabina Zeffler visited and observed at Mundo Verde Public Charter School on January 29.
  • Leo Gonzalez, brother of former student Derrick, will be volunteering in the Green Room on Monday afternoons 4-6.

UPDATE ON CONSTRUCTION PLANS – During the month of January a number of meetings were held.  First we met with the management company to get a progress report on permitting for both our swing space and construction.  We are still working on approval of drawings and eventual permitting.  It is now estimated that construction in the church (elevator, church offices, Fellowship Hall bathrooms – all not in our wing) will begin early to mid-March.  Teachers also had a meeting with the architect to go over classroom and hallway finishes.  With help from member of our Building and Grounds committee, I have been interviewing companies for our move in and out of the swing space.

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Quaker House Newsletter

Appreciating Children’s Humor

Q: Knock, knock—-Who’s there? —-Boo—Boo Who?

A: Well you don’t have to cry about it.

Why did the chicken cross the road?

To get to the other side…

Have you been hearing knock-knock, chicken, or other kind of jokes from your child lately? They appeared out of nowhere and have increased and expanded from thereon. From your child’s first nonverbal attempts as a toddler to demonstrate a sense of humor by for example putting their shoe on their head or a toy in their food, humor has come a long way.

At QH, especially at the lunch table, some children are more concerned to get their joke across then to eat their food. The children love playing with the sound, meaning and purpose of words, as they tremendously enjoy triggering roars of laughter amongst their peers and managing to get the attention of the group.

Humor is an important and unique human element of communication that helps children build relationships with each other.”  

Jennifer Cunningham, who researched humor in young children includes humor as a type of play. She does this for three reasons:
First, humor is enjoyable—in the ways that most play is enjoyable.
Second, humor constructs an unreal world—much as make-believe play does.
Third, the enjoyable, unreal world of humor often performs the same cognitive, social, and emotional functions as play in general.

On the one hand it’s a good sign that children are developing the necessary mental flexibility to have a sense of humor that is so beneficiary when engaging in creative problem-solving, make us feel better when we make mistakes or encounter failure. It is also a sign of how safe and happy they feel in their environment and with the children and adults whom they spend their weekdays with. On the other hand pre-school humor filled with repetition, chanting, “nonsense-talk” (at least initially to grown-ups ears), and especially potty talk can be at times agonizing to adults. “Things that are not okay to say in some situations are somehow safe when we are only joking. The more adults are upset by it, the more hilarious it is for children. They build a sense of camaraderie around “breaking the rules”. 

Knowing when and how to engage in humor, is part of emotional intelligence and something the children will surely learn as they mature.

In any case humor reflects children’s growing understanding of the world they live in and their cognitive and social/emotional development.

Sharing laughter together often serves as the precursor to other forms of social intimacy. Laughter becomes one of the earliest and most enduring tools for getting to know one another. The humor context is so powerful that it breaks down even difficult social barriers.”

As educator it is every year again and again fascinating how different groups of children develop their own unique brand of humor and how the humor and laughter supports their learning if we as adults are able to join in with them and share their excitement for their new and developing perspective, understanding, and abilities. With humor and laughter comes emotional range. Along with lightheartedness, and playfulness comes creative thinking.

Research shows that children laugh approximately 200 times a day, whereas adults only 15-18 times.

We have a great resource in children when it comes to increasing the humor and laughter, and joy in our lives. If you think about the laugh statistic, even if you are with them half a day, that is 100 shared laughs a day. All it takes is slowing down to see, and appreciate children’s humor!” (Deb Curtis)

Stages of Humor Development

Taking a cue from Piaget’s cognitive stages, leading humor researcher Paul McGhee, first proposed a comprehensive stage-model of children’s humor in 1979. This model, last revised in 2002, maps the type of humor the child is likely fascinated with to underlying changes in her ability to perceive and make sense of her world.

Stage 0: Laughter Without Humor. McGhee dubs this pre-humor stage “stage 0,” although children may exhibit smiling and laughter.

Stage 1: Laughter at the Attachment Figure. In this stage, the child demonstrates an increasing awareness of her interpersonal surroundings and participates in social humor with a parent or other attachment figure through games such as peek-a-boo.

Stage 2: Treating an Object as a Different Object. At stage 2, the child begins producing “jokes” nonverbally by performing incongruous actions such as putting her bowl on her head as a hat or pretending to talk into her shoe.

Stage 3: Misnaming Objects or Actions. Once the child’s vocabulary hits a critical point, she can extend her incongruity humor to misnaming objects or actions. McGhee notes that children at this stage often enjoy calling things by their opposite name—cold as hot, boy as girl.

Stage 4: Playing With Words. As the child’s verbal competence grows, she is less dependent on objects as the source of humor. She may experiment with rhyming words, made-up silly words, and other humorous play that does not directly link to concrete objects within her reach.

Stage 5: Riddles and Jokes. As the child develops, she begins to understand that humor has a meaning—that jokes must resolve from something absurd into something that makes cognitive sense. She often starts memorizing riddles and jokes and using them as a means of initiating social interactions with peers and adults.

Hope you enjoy a good laugh today!

The QH-teachers

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Rainbow Room Newsletter

There have been many positions on children and the effects of spending time in front of television, iPads, phones, and computers. Diane Levin has been a leading voice on discussing media’s influence since 1985. I [Makai] have attended her workshop “Compassion Deficit Disorder: A Challenge to Social Development, Behavior, and Healthy Relationships” and read her books “The War Play Dilemma” and “Remote Controlled Childhood.” The main point she makes is that the more children are passively watching screens, the less they are playing and learning to meet their social and emotional needs as well as gain problem solving skills; children become connected to screens instead of each other. Children “try out the behaviors and ideas to which they are exposed to see how they work. Then they modify them based on the results of what they try.” Due to an increase of violent images and television, children’s “play” is turning into imitation of what they see. When a child is imitating, they are not in control of the content and therefore not constructing their own understanding and deciding for themselves what is real; “for play to fulfill its optimal role in development, it should be primarily assimilative and stem from the child’s needs.” She also stresses the importance of watching television with your children in order to ask questions or listen to what your child has to say about what they are viewing.

Here are some tips from Dr. Levin for parents and teachers:

-Help children look at what in the media is pretend and what is real by asking open-ended questions

-Show children that you won’t get upset or angry by what they say

-Help children take charge of what they watch by helping them plan what and when they will watch

-Talk to children about their responses to commercials and product-linked programs they see in the media

-Compare what your child saw to their personal experience

-Discuss any violence or other mean-spirited behavior

-Ask questions that focus on stereotyped images and behaviors; children’s media often reflects and promotes stereotypes that limit children’s ideas of whom they can be and how they understand and treat others

*****

Reminders:

-Please check extra clothes cubbies and bring in two sets of LABELED seasonal clothing

-Family of the Week sign-up sheet is on the classroom door

-Please sign up to bring in fruits and veggies to supplement snack

Thanks,

The Rainbow Room Teamhr-gr

Green Room Newsletter

Winter brings exciting changes to the outdoors and wonderful opportunities for children to explore. Children are all about figuring things out. They want to understand how the world works. Materials like snow, puddles, ice, frozen leaves, sand and soil are temporary and intriguing to investigate. These free, educational materials require no teacher planning. They come with lessons already in place, just waiting for children to discover them as they play. The outdoors supports all aspects of children’s learning. It engages their bodies, their minds and their imaginations. The natural world invites curiosity and supports problem- solving skills.

When we went out in the snow, the kids got buckets and shovels and started filling their buckets with snow. Not only were they having fun, but the were putting their fine and gross motor skills to work. We built the base to a house with the crates. The children enjoyed jumping or stomping their feet to make room for more snow in the crates. They were using their imagination and enhancing their problem solving skills. One kid started taking snow and filling up the spaces between the blocks of ice.

The winter season can be unpredictable, however. The weather can range from mild to bitterly cold, bright and sunny to rain, sleet or snow. Children need to have the right clothes for the weather conditions: layers in the cold weather, boots, and rain coats for the rain. In cold weather young children usually need one more layer of clothing than an adult needs to stay warm.

A common myth is that exposure to cold and wind make children more likely to catch a cold or flu virus. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, cold weather is not the cause of either the flu or colds. Both cold and flu viruses are more common in the winter and children in child care are in close contact with each other and can spread the germs. Washing hands frequently and teaching children to sneeze or cough into their elbows help reduce the spread of colds and flu. Active play helps build the immune system and increases a child’s ability to fight off a cold or the flu. So let’s bundle up and enjoy the outdoors – especially in the winter!

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Just a few reminders:

  • In general, we don’t go outside if the temperature or wind chill is 20 degrees or below.
  • Ensure that your kids have snow gear i.e snow pants, snow boots, mittens (waterproof), hats, jackets.
  • Ensure that they have extra clothing in their clothes cubbies and that they are weather appropriate.
  • Green Room gets cool during nap time, so please send thick blankets for your kids. We notice that some naptime blankets are thin. Please send in a thicker blanket for the winter.

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Blue Room Newsletter

Being a parent to a toddler can be very stressful and trying at times. In order for adults to help a child self-regulate, they need to learn how to regulate themselves. A lot of times when a child does something, the adult immediately reacts to it before thinking about how their reaction will affect the child. The focus tends to be on the child’s behavior instead of the state that the adult is currently in. The attention should be shifted from judging the behavior to regulating the state. When there is conflict, it creates an opportunity to teach, so it is best to be calm.

Self-regulation allows you to put a pause between impulse and action. Without self-regulation, people tend to act out their internal distress instead of managing it. In order to self-regulate it takes two. Children who don’t have mature inner speech are not able to self-regulate. The way that self-regulation is learned is through relationships. Building good positive relationships with a child will help them feel safe and loved. In order to regulate, you need to regulate yourself first and then do what you want the child to do. Being a STAR is an easy way to do this. Smile, Take a deep breath, And, Relax. Once this is accomplished you have the ability to return to the child transformed and able help them.

To help the child calm down use DNA, Describe the child’s emotional cues, Name the feeling, Acknowledge the child’s intent or message. There are 5 steps to self-regulation with children as stated by Dr. Becky Bailey:

  1. I Am – Child is triggered into a state of upset. Emotions biochemically overtake us and we become them. “I am angry.”
  2. I Calm – Children need assistance in turning off the stress response in their body and calming down their physiology. Begin to move from “I am angry” to “I feel angry.”
  3. I Feel – “Children need assistance in naming and taming the feelings that have overwhelmed them. Once you can name a feeling and become conscious of it, you are automatically better able to manage it.
  4. I Choose – Children need assistance in choosing strategies that will help them move from the lower centers of their brain to the higher centers of their brain in order to get back to classroom activities/work.
  5. I Solve – Something triggered the child into a state of upset before entering the safe place. Whatever happened needs some type of solution.

Visuals are also very helpful for children, especially for those who are not verbal yet. In order for children to calm down and learn how to regulate themselves and their actions, they need assistance from someone who is calm and regulated. It is also important for the child to have a “Safe place” that they can go to in order to self-regulate and calm down.  Just like anything, there will not be immediate results. It takes practice and repetition until results will be seen. As the children grow more mature, they will be able to do it more on their own without the help from an adult.

All of the information stated is from Dr. Becky Baileys Conscious Discipline curriculum. More information can be found on her website www.consciousdiscipline.com.

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Important Dates:

February 15th – SfF closed for Presidents’ Day

March 11th – Staci’s Birthday

March 18th – Julian’s Birthday