Social Skills by Julie Hartley, First Grade Teacher
“How was your day today?” This is the typical greeting that can be heard in our halls and on the sidewalk after school every day. This routine question is more than just small talk when it comes to connecting with our children; it is an important daily barometer on several levels. Of course we all want our kids to be learning, but often the first thing on our minds as parents is to check in regarding how the day was socially and emotionally. In addition to the academic objectives presented at school, there are also many social skills being learned and practiced on a daily basis. So when we ask, “How was your day today”, we may actually be wondering, “Did you play with friends at recess? Did you speak up for yourself when your feelings were hurt? Did you do the right thing when someone else made a poor choice?”
An important part of our job as teachers and staff is to help kids navigate their complex social world, developing friendships and gaining confidence and pride in who they are. God created each of these students to be a unique masterpiece, and we want to nurture the whole child, not just the academic part. I believe this is a crucial educational piece that sets Hope Lutheran apart from other schools and it is one of the main reasons I feel so blessed to teach here. In my previous experience teaching in a larger public school, we had a policy that unless kids were bleeding or in imminent danger, all social problems were to be handled on their own. In practice, we were supposed to stop a child when they began telling about a recess problem or conflict with a friend, and reply with “No Tattling” and simply send them on their way. Here at Hope we encourage independent problem solving, but we also give them social-emotional support and guidance when it is needed. It is common to see our teachers taking the extra time to listen and talk through feelings and positive solutions. We want our students to feel safe and supported on the playground as well as in the classroom.
With the adoption of the new Second Step curriculum this year, we now have a program at Hope that helps put this philosophy into practice. It promotes a safe and respectful school climate through lessons in empathy, compassion, emotion management and problem solving and it provides common language across the grade levels. The lessons are very relatable to the kids, as each one includes a large picture card showing a child in various social situations. We talk about facial and body language cues we can use to know how other kids may be feeling. This is crucial because then we are empowering kids to actually prevent social problems rather than focusing on just reacting after something happens. In contrast to many behavior/discipline programs, Second Step is unique in its focus on pre-emptive problem-solving and recognizing strong emotions in ourselves and others before they lead to a conflict. My first graders love the puppets and opportunities for role-playing social situations and it has led to many thoughtful class discussions. I think the name fits it just perfectly in our situation; we were already doing a lot to promote successful peer relations, and now we are taking the “second step” in nurturing the whole child-academically, spiritually, socially and emotionally.
Calendar of Events – Click Here
Tues. 1/9: 6:30 PM Preschool Open House for New or Returning Parents
Wed. 1/10: 8:40 AM Chapel led by Grade 8
Mon. 1/15: No School & No ESC – Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday
Wed. 1/17: 8:40 AM Chapel led by Grade 4
Fri. 1/19: Free Dress Day
January 22 to 28 – Lutheran Schools Week!
Preschool Open House – 1/9 at 6:30 pm
This is a great opportunity to invite families to check out one of the great play-based preschool programs in West Seattle. Children are welcome to this informal get-to-know-you session so they can explore the classroom and parents can meet the teachers and ask questions. If any parents of current preschoolers want to volunteer to help answer questions and greet families, let me know. I’d love the help.
School Athletic Events – Click Here
LEST Events – Click Here
Before & After School Clubs – Click Here
A new afterschool chess club will be starting up on Monday s starting January 29th. Look for a flyer to come home today or visit our website for information.
PTH & PIP Opportunities – Click Here
Help needed tomorrow night to greet families at our preschool open house. Email Sally at email@example.com if you can assist. Thank you!
Auction News & Opportunities – Click Here
Hopecoming Auction planning is underway. It’s not for Member’s Only – the whole Hope family can join the club! We’re looking to raise Big Bucks and no Whammies! Help the procurement team solicit items for the silent and live auction. Extra wine overflowing your cellar? Vacation property? Totally awesome job that a student would love to experience for a day? Donate to Hopecoming! We need a parent from each class to lead the assembly of the class basket, a raffle coordinator, and someone to create a video or visual for our raise the paddle event. Contact Heather Paar at firstname.lastname@example.org to get plugged in. We can use everyone’s talents! Next general auction meeting is February 12 at 6pm. Hope to see you there!
Church News & Activities – Click Here