Playtime isn’t just play for our children
By Jacqueline Juliana
Bayfield Primary School
Would you like to boost your child’s confidence and self-esteem? How about accelerate their problem solving skills, creativity, socialization skills, ability to emotionally regulate, develop emotional intelligence, improve their executive function, reduce stress, fortify your attachment, and generally increase brain development? Yes? Great! Having a fun time, on top of all this, would be too much to ask right?
Wrong! Read on. You can do this with just a little time regularly, no money and no commute. You already have all it takes. This magic something is very simple. It is child-directed play. Play is far more than simple rehearsal of scenarios and a way to pleasantly pass the time. It is behavior that is intrinsically fun, where the actions themselves are more important than the product. Play behavior is innate and exists in all mammals. It is believed to be crucial to our development and survival.
There are all kinds of play: manipulative (puzzles, playing with objects, deconstructing things, crafts); curious (exploring); rough and tumble play; social play; and pretend play to name a few. Out of all the types of play, pretend play is my personal favorite.
Pretend play allows children to take on roles in unreal or fantasized situations. It is a wonderful catalyst for creativity, imagination and problem solving. Pretend play allows children to imagine make believe problems and push themselves to develop solutions. What I love most about pretend play is that despite the imaginary nature of the scenarios, the play itself provides a wonderful reflection of the child’s internal world. Additionally, I’ve noticed a delightful correlation between those kids that are adept at pretend play and strong creative writing skills.
Incredible Years, a research- supported parent training program developed by Carolyn Webster Stratton, recommends playing with your child 15 minutes daily. Play should be child-directed. This means the child takes the lead in governing the storyline/activity of the play. Also of great importance during play is to set liberal but firm boundaries.
Such boundaries may include limits on hurting people and things such as “People are not for hurting”, “Toys are not for breaking”, and “Messy play happens outside. ”Articulating the boundaries before and during play helps avoid power struggles. Finally, remember to withhold judgements: overpraising a child may limit a child as much as criticism would. Overpraising encourages the child to repeat the action simply to please you and stifle exploration. As opposed to praise, reflect what you observe the child doing. This encourages the child’s esteem without curbing creativity. Feed ingenuity by allowing elephants to be green, turned over bowls to be turtles and a sock to be a snake. When kids ask what an item is, give permission for the item to be anything they want it to be as long as it doesn’t violate the ground rules.
Just watch and see the cool stuff they come up with and enjoy watching your children blossom through play!
Jacqueline Juliana, better known as “Ms.J” is the counselor at Bayfield Primary School. She loves to play with kids, help connect families with the resources they may need and learn new things. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 884-0881.
Pine River Times, August 26, 2016
Our bodies need sleep to learn, work, maintain health
By Jacqueline Juliana
Bayfield Primary School
We’ve all been heard the saying, “You snooze, you lose!” This upsets me. I love to sleep and can’t seem to get enough. So, being in education, and dedicated to accurate complete information to promote wise decision making, I decided to investigate this one. Really, if “snoozing” refers to tardiness and indecision, well, maybe there’s a bit of truth to it. If we’re talking sleep, glorious, restorative, rejuvenating, delicious slumber, it couldn’t be further from the truth. When I don’t get enough sleep, I know my ability to make sound choices, keep things in perspective, and avoid rumination radically diminishes. I’ve witnessed innumerable meltdowns that have preceded long, solid naps. Ok, I’ve had a few meltdowns that have been prompted by lack of sleep myself. After a good night’s sleep, the world looks a brighter and problems a bit smaller. This is fabulous in and of itself, but there is a great deal more to it.
The chapter entitled “The Lost Hour” in Bronson and Meriman’s New York Times bestseller Nurture Shock gets right to the heart of why sleep is so important for the health and academic success of kids of all ages.
Yes, you read correctly, sleep is vital to academic success. While we sleep, the nerve cells in our brain busily create connections to solidify skills and information we’ve learned during the day. To create the connections, nerve fibers must actually make microscopic movements. Guess what? Yup, the proteins that help the nerve fibers to make these tiny movements are made while we sleep! Bronson and Meriman describe an experiment which shows the difference sleep makes is measurable and significant! When over 70, fourth grade and sixth grade students were deprived of one hour of sleep, their academic performance regressed by two years. A study conducted at Brown University showed that allowing preschoolers to stay up and sleep in an hour later correlated to a loss of seven points on IQ tests. Dr. Kyla Wahlstrom at University of Minnesota canvassed over 7000 high school students regarding sleep habits and grades. The outcome showed that students with C averages received 15 minutes less sleep than their B average counterparts and B average counterparts received 15 minutes less on average than the A students.
Our bodies are less able to obtain glucose from our blood when we are deprived of sleep. This impacts the part of our brain that controls our ability to organize and complete tasks, forecast outcomes and intuit consequences of our actions the more than any other part of the brain. This is discouraging but to top this off, when we don’t get enough sleep, our brains are far more able to remember and focus on the negative instead of the positive. There is only one solution: go to bed!
Hopefully knowing how vital sleep is to the quality of our lives, by helping us to maintain a positive attitude, emotionally regulate, maintain physical health, and achieve academic success, will help us to prioritize getting a good night’s sleep regularly. Here’s the fabulous part, sleep is free and available to us all. A half hour or longer of downtime before bed and consistent routines at bedtime help everyone to fall and stay asleep.
I wish you all a restful good night!
References: Bronson, P., & Merryman, A. (2011). NurtureShock: New thinking about children. New York: Twelve.
BY CAROLE MCWILLIAMS
TIMES SENIOR STAFF WRITER
Parents and lots of fidgety children filled the Bayfield High School cafetorium night for presentations about an assortment of youth safety issues. Also present were local law enforcement, Upper Pine Fire, school staff, even a Homeland Security representative with information about online sexual predators.
District Safety and Transportation Director Jeff Whitmore welcomed attendees and said, "This came about from talking to some counselors that we want to get the information from these (school staff) trainings out to families."
The keynote speaker was Susan Payne, founder and executive director of Safe2Tell, a way for kids or anyone to submit anonymous concerns about so! mething, with immediate referral to local officials for a response.
Payne said she worked in law enforcement for 26 years with various agencies, including the FBI. She comes from a law enforcement family. She has two kids in college and one in high school. She started Safe2Tell as a non-profit in the 2004-05 school year. It now receives state funding and operates in the State Attorney General’s Office.
Payne talked to middle and high school students earlier .
She urged parents to talk to their kids about issues they might face, and let them know you want them to speak up. "Have the conversation with your kids. ... Try to listen. Make sure they are heard. Try not to freak out. Don’t create a barrier," such as threatening to take away their computer if they’ve been involved in something, such as a party with ! drugs present or under-age drinking.
Safe2Tell was created following school shooting tragedies, she said - Columbine, Red Lake, Minn., Sandy Hook and others. There were common denominators of how those might have been prevented, Payne said, citing a student code of silence that has to be addressed.
"When there’s a code of silence, our communities become dangerous places," she said. "When we look at school shootings where lives were lost, 81 percent of the time, there was someone who knew it was going to happen and didn’t speak up." In many cases, more than one person knew. There are peers who know when a kid is showing troubling signs such as emotional issues. Sometimes adults see it too.
"What’s normal teen behavior?" she asked. "Sometimes it looks a lot like depression." Most school shooters showed concerning behavior before the shooting happened.
"We’ve done a really good job of response in this country" after a shooting has happened, Payne said. She showed a short You Tu! be video called The Sandy Hook Promise that has gone viral. It shows regular school scenes with kids in the hall, the lunch room, the library. Hidden in those images is a boy doing things that should be a warning, such as looking at shooting videos or pretending to shoot someone in school. The video ends with kids running screaming as someone with a gun comes in the door.
"Know the signs" of potential trouble, Payne said. "Sometimes the signs are glaringly obvious. Does something feel like a threat?"
Safe2Tell is a way to let someone know, to eliminate the barriers that keep people silent. If you call, someone will respond, Payne said. The information will be relayed immediately to local school response teams and local law enforcement.
The calls cover multiple issues other than possible school shooters, such as bullying,! suicide threats, dating violence, or someone passed out from! drinking and whose life could be at risk if someone doesn’t intervene. "You can report it without getting in trouble. Are you afraid of getting your friend in trouble?" she asked. "If this was you, would you want someone to call?"
So another part of her mission is traveling to educate students on why and when they should break that code of silence.
"We have to teach our kids what to watch for and to speak up... that there’s hope and help. We have that conversation about why they think it’s a betrayal (to report a situation), that it’s a betrayal NOT to speak up."
Safe2Tell got 5,816 reports during the 2015-16 school year, a 68-percent increase from the previous year. There were 664 reports in Dec. 2016, up 51 percent from Dec. 2015. The largest number of Dec. 2016 reports were for suicide threats, bullying, and drugs.
Payne said the calls aren’t all about someone in Colorado. Calls have brought interventions in other states, and even other countries.
More than 100 parents, students and community members attended night’s School Safety Meeting sponsored by the Bayfield School District.
PHOTO BY CAROLE MCWILLIAMS
Susan Payne is the founder and executive director of Safe2Tell. She was the keynote speaker at Bayfield’s School Safety Night .
PHOTO BY CAROLE MCWILLIAMS
Pine River Times, September 30, 2016
Science supports it, Attitude is everything!
Above the copy machine in the work room at Bayfield Primary School there are several inspirational signs posted. One of these signs assigns a numerical percent value to each letter according to its place in the alphabet. For example, A=1%, B=2%, C=3% and so forth. Given these place values, the poster intimates that knowledge is equal to 96% of what it takes to be successful. Hard work accounts for 98% of success, but attitude is equivalent to 100%. I’d always thought of this as clever, and a fun reminder of the importance of a positive attitude but nothing more until Rob Stafford, counselor at Bayfield Elementary School, invited Ms. Liza Tregillus to speak to a group of parents. Ms. Tregillus, a veteran social worker and founder of Tregillus Intentional Parenting (www.lizatip.com) introduced us to the concept of the Growth Mindset. Mindset and attitude are basically synonymous however, the term “Growth Mindset” was coined by a Stanford University Psychologist Carol Dwerk after decades of investigating success and achievement. Those who have a Growth Mindset believe that they can broaden their knowledge base and improve their skills with wise effort and hard work. The mindset itself provides the motivation for effort, perseverance and grit and not the reverse. Research shows that children with a Growth Mindset are more interested in the process of learning as opposed to being concerned about their grade. They also lean into challenges and cope with failures more productively than children with “fixed mindsets” (belief that talent and abilities are inherent and minimally malleable.)
The great news is that there are many things you can do promote a Growth Mindset. First and foremost, learn more about it! Watch Eduardo Briceno’s TED talk on youtube entitled “The Power of Belief- Mindset and Success”. Secondly, instead of praising your children for a particular outcome, praise them for process related skills like; working hard, being mindful, thinking things through and sticking with a difficult task. When you learn how you learn, you can apply these strategies to different areas and improve your achievement all around.
“Ms. J” is the counselor at Bayfield Primary School. She loves to play with kids, learn new things and take her dog for walks. Ms. J definitely has a Growth Mindset. She can be reached at email@example.com or (970) 884-0881
Schools aim to stop bullying
BY CAROLE MCWILLIAMS
TIMES SENIOR STAFF WRITER
Bullying isn’t normal kid behavior, and being bullied isn’t a normal rite of passage, Bayfield Elementary/ Primary School counselors Jackie Juliana (grades K-2) and Rob Stafford (grades 3-5) told parents night at Bayfield High School. It was a breakout session during the district’s School Safety Night for the community.
Juliana described bullying as a repeated and chronic pattern of intentional hurtful behavior, generally with some power differential between the bully and victim. It can be physical, verbal including threat of harm, social such as spreading nasty rumors, or cyber-bullying.
Along with the bully and victim, there are bystanders, Juliana said. The g! oal is to get them to intervene in some way to stop the bullying.
Bayfield Middle School counselor Dave Kelley added, "We try to teach our kids to do the right thing," including situations where they need to seek help immediately.
Juliana said she works with kids starting in kindergarten on things like interpersonal skills and the difference between tattling and telling. Tattling aims to get another child in trouble, while telling is to get help for another child, she said.
Interpersonal skills include things like cooperation, sharing, being a good listener, how to be a friend, alternatives to hitting, the difference between big and small problems, self-talk, calming down strong emotions, and managing frustration and worry. They also learn about problem solving and personal safety, and things rel! ated to character development.
The first and second graders get more indepth presentations of the same things, Juliana said.
"Bullying isn’t funny. It’s not a joke. It’s not normal or a rite of passage," she said. "It’s not the same as peer conflict. We aren’t dismissing peer conflict, but it’s different."
Stafford listed signs of a child being bullied: unexplained injuries, damaged or lost possessions, the child doesn’t want to go to school or has no appetite. Risk factors include poor social skills and social isolation.
Risk factors for kids becoming bullies include lack of parental supervision or involvement, harsh discipline at home, lack of warm acceptance by parents or family, and an impulsive aggressive temperament.
Lack of self-esteem is a risk factor for bo! th bullies and victims.
Juliana listed protective factors of supportive parents who use moderate discipline, healthy self-esteem, a supportive, steady circle of friends, and a positive school climate. Stafford said a positive school climate greatly reduces bullying.
Juliana urged parents to be involved in their kids’ lives at home and at school, monitor and supervise them, teach and reward them for productive social skills and problem solving. She urged parents to encourage their kids to find a home within their school, a club or activity where they can belong.
Kelley said there are more issues as kids use social media at ever- younger ages. "We see more of that every year, social media being a negative factor on kids." BMS has various activities and techniques, inclu! ding mindfulness practice and goal setting, to promote positive behavi! or and better focus. They have the Shine On Shaniah award for a student who shows empathy, effort, and integrity. It’s named after student Shaniah Farmer, who died in a car crash several years ago. He said BMS has support classes for kids who are struggling academically. "When they’re struggling with academics, they act out with behavior."
BY MELANIE MAZUR
In a breakout session at the Bayfield School District Safety Night, local police explained how they handle lockdowns, lockouts and other safety issues in partnership with the staff at Bayfield schools.
School safety has vastly improved in Bayfield in the past four or five years, explained Bayfield Marshal Joe McIntyre. All staff now receive training in safety and threat assessments, and the district has a crisis response team that responds to a variety of student and safety issues.
There used to be multiple entrances into schools, they weren’t monitored, and teachers hadn’t been trained to keep their classroom doors closed and locked, explained Sgt. Dan Cyr, the school resource off! icer for the Bayfield Marshal’s Office. Now all Bayfield schools buzz in visitors through a monitored and locked door, and the department has been contacted when staff members haven’t wanted to let someone into a school.
Of the unfortunate number of school shootings in the U.S., the shooter almost never comes through a closed and locked door, Cyr said. So just that simple step is a big deterrent.
In the shooting at Virginia Tech, for example, all of the victims were killed or injured in unlocked classrooms. One professor blocked a door closed by bracing his legs against the door, and the shooter moved on to another room.
Although the chance of having a school shooting happen anywhere is small, Cyr explained part of his job as a school resource officer is to discuss with students how to be aware of potential threats and how to ! deal with them.
"We have to train and prepare, just in case."
Every semester, the district and marshal’s office practice lockdowns or lockouts at all of the schools in the district.
A lockdown is when all doors are locked, windows covered, no one can enter or leave the school building, and students are instructed to stay away from windows and doors. It is ordered when there is an immediate threat in or near the school.
A lockout is when there is threatening activity near a school, but no known danger to students. Again, no one is allowed into the school during a lockout. An example of a lockout was when a bank in Bayfield was robbed at gunpoint several years ago, and the armed suspects fled on a four-wheeler, passing the high school, Cyr explained.
Other protocols the district and police use include evacuate and shelter to get students out of harm’s way.
Police also have changed their tactics in dealing with school shootings, Cyr said. If someone enters a school wanting to harm students and staff, he explained the safest thing is for the children and teachers to get into a locked classroom. That way, an officer in the school can focus on shooting the perpetrator and not worry about accidentally hitting kids running through the halls.
If an active shooter is in a building, it can be safer for students to get out through another door or window from a classroom, Cyr said. It’s important that they stay together as a group.
"We tell the kids, ‘You can protect yourself. That’s your right.’ We don’t scare the kids with these conversations,! " he said. Some! times, it’s difficult for staff to undergo the training. They say they became educators to teach kids, but Cyr explains to them that student safety has to be of major importance, as well.
"I give major kudos to the staff and students," McIntyre said.
The marshal also recommended parents should talk with their kids about school safety and what they would do if someone threatened to hurt himself, or hurt others.
"It’s a difficult conversation to have," McIntyre said. "We have to change that mindset."
The evening’s keynote speaker, Safe2Tell founder and executive director Susan Payne, cited the Sandy Hook school shootings. A first grade boy recognized a chance to escape as the shooter stopped to reload. The boy grabbed a friend’s hand, and they got out.