It’s almost the end of January. How has your new year been so far?
Here at Milne Grove we’ve been spending time in Morning Mindfulness talking a little about having a growth mindset. A mindset is a way of thinking, and having a growth mindset is when we know, with practice, we will get better at something.
When teachers and parents have a growth mindset, we encourage and praise the children by complimenting their efforts. It’s best to be specific when praising their efforts and tell kids what behavior we are praising. So instead of “Good Job!” we like to say:
“I can see your hard work in this assignment!”
“You’re making good progress!”
“Congratulations! You put in the effort to succeed.”
“Look at what you can accomplish when you keep trying!”
“You have such a positive attitude!”
“You keep trying even when it's hard!”
Of course our children need to hear that they are more than just their efforts. It’s important that they hear of their intrinsic value from their parents and teachers, too. Just like the messages from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Fred Rogers said, “You made this day a special day by just your being you. There's no person in the whole world like you. I like you just the way you are.”
Be sure to include both messages when talking with your children. They are valuable, important, and loved just the way they are! And they can do anything when they work hard at it!
Today at the assembly before the classroom parties, your children enjoyed some time to dance, sing, and watch a holiday special. The special reminded them that when we fill someone else’s bucket, by bringing a gift or giving a compliment, that it fills our buckets, too! Let’s remember to be bucket fillers during our time away from school over winter break. Enjoy the time together with those who are important to you!
Hopefully you were able to come to Milne Grove and meet with your child’s teacher for a conference. Did you see colorful posters? We ended the first trimester of Morning Mindfulness with providing time for the students to work in groups to produce a poster about an agreed upon mindfulness strategy. There were posters that covered being mindful of our thoughts, feelings, and bodies. Most of the student groups chose to highlight a way to be mindful of your body such as Calm Down Cocoa Breathing or Yoga. There were students who chose to draw about being mindful of their thoughts with the Visualization strategy. And some students wanted to make a poster about being mindful of feelings when they Listen to Music. All of our mindfulness strategies help us improve our attention and self-regulation. It is okay to have some favorite strategies and some that you don’t like much.
Are you curious about what we do in Morning Mindfulness? Do you want to know more about it? Is there anything stopping you from practicing mindfulness yourself or from using it with your children?
Mrs. Draper and I will be happy to answer your questions!
Today at Milne Grove School, your child heard a presentation on Body Safety by Rebecca Taylor from Guardian Angel Community Services. Ms. Taylor is a Prevention Educator and is skilled at handling this sensitive subject matter in an age appropriate way.
The kindergarten and first grade classes were led in the reading of a book titled, “It’s My Body” by Lory Freeman. The vocabulary that was taught to discuss body safety were the words: safe, unsafe, comfortable, and uncomfortable. Safe touches feel comfortable. We feel happy. We can hold hands and give hugs to people we love. When we hold hands or give hugs we are sharing our bodies. The book states, “ If I feel uncomfortable, I won’t share my body. I’ll say ‘I don’t like it.’”
The second and third grade classes were read a book titled, “Do You Have a Secret?” by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos. In addition to the vocabulary of safe, unsafe, comfortable, and uncomfortable, these classes discussed the words private and personal. Unsafe secrets make us feel uncomfortable, confused or afraid; and we should tell an adult. Safe secrets for gift giving or parties are okay.
At no time were private parts referred to by any other words than “private parts.” Children were told that private parts are the parts of our bodies that are under swimming suits. They were told that private parts are not meant for sharing. The presenters explained that some exceptions might include getting help from a trusted adult with shampoo in the bath or shower, changing a baby’s diaper, and seeing the doctor.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions about today’s discussions.
Milne Grove teachers and staff want your child to be as successful as possible at school. Success in school is not just about reading and math. It is also about knowing how to learn and how to get along with others. To help our children be successful, we provide instruction specific to learning and getting along with other people.
We are using the Second Step program in Mrs. Adam’s and Mrs. Preboy’s classrooms to teach these critical skills to our kindergarten students. First through third grades attend Morning Mindfulness to learn these skills. These are part of District 91’s universal system of behavior support.
The Second Step program teaches skills in the following four areas: 1. Skills for Learning, 2. Empathy, 3. Emotion Management, and 4. Problem Solving. All of those skills are also being addressed in the morning mindfulness sessions.
If you would like more information about Second Step or Morning Mindfulness, please contact me. Let’s work together to prepare our students for success!
Morning Mindfulness has become an enjoyable time with grades 1, 2, and 3 each week! Mrs. Draper and I appreciate the time we have with the students to discuss ways to be successful with friends, family, and school.
Students have practiced being mindful of sounds, the movement of our bodies, our feelings, and the feelings of others. This week during Morning Mindfulness we started learning about our brains and different parts of our brains. Obviously we each have one brain, but we referred to different parts of the brain as “little brain” and “big brain.” Ask your child about this! We learned that when the big brain is touching the little brain, it allows them to work together to make good decisions.
We used a glitter jar to demonstrate how our feelings can be so big that our brains can’t think clearly. When that happens, we have to employ a strategy to calm down in order for the glitter to fall to the bottom and we can think, and see, clearly once again.
Several students expressed their interest in making a glitter jar of their own. I used the instructions from a website called fireflies and mudpies. The instructions to make a glitter jar and the link to the website are below.
My glitter bottles are made of plastic. I found them at Michael’s arts and crafts store.
Our school is fortunate to receive support from several community agencies. One of those is Bags of Hope. This is a program that provides a bag of food to students/families every week. Bags of Hope receives donations from schools, churches, businesses, and community groups and is in partnership with the United Way.
Our Milne Grove families support Bags of Hope by providing donations. Plus our school benefits from the bags that are sent home to families who sign up for the program. The Bags of Hope forms were sent home the second week of school.
If you are interested in signing up to receive a backpack of non-perishable food every week, or if you would like to commit to donating a grocery item every week, and have not yet signed up, please email me or call me. It is never too late to sign up. I will be happy to send home the form!
This year Milne Grove’s first, second, and third graders will have Morning Mindfulness time each week. This is one of the many aspects of District 91’s universal system of behavior support that is provided for ALL students throughout the school and district. This time is another way we are continuing to build social and emotional well being among our student body. Mrs. Draper and I are super excited to meet with first graders on Tuesdays, second graders on Wednesdays, and third graders on Thursdays!
Each time we come together we will talk about concepts that relate to mindfulness. There are many facets of mindfulness, and we will provide broad overviews of these facets in age appropriate ways. Overall mindfulness refers to directing our attention to what is happening here and now. We are able to pay attention to what is happening inside ourselves, such as how our bodies feel, our thoughts, and our emotions. We are also able to pay attention to, or be mindful of, that which is happening outside of ourselves. Examples of what we may choose to be mindful of are the view out the window, a conversation with a friend, instruction given by the teacher.
We have already discussed being mindful of filling someone’s bucket. This week we are mindful about listening and using our whole body to listen. Please ask your child about it!
Dear Milne Grove Families,
Back to school time is so exciting for me! This year I am extra excited because I am new to Milne Grove School and I am loving being here!
Several students agreed with me that school is awesome, but a few told me they were nervous. All of our feelings are okay and it’s great that we can recognize them and share how we feel with other people.
I like to talk with students about feelings, friends, and everything that impacts them at school. I am available during school hours to support our teachers and students as they do the important work of learning.
I look forward to meeting you and your children!
Copyright ©2020 by MReynolds for Milne-Kelvin Grove School District 91. All Rights Reserved. Milne-Kelvin Grove District 91 serves the residents of Lockport, Illinois with two schools: Milne Grove School (K-3) and Kelvin Grove School (4-8).