Sunday, November 16, 2014

Kindness Month

The Lowell School is working on growing in kindness this month.  November 13th was World Kindness Day but every day can be a Random Acts of Kindness day!  Check out the Random Acts of Kindness Foundation's #ShareAMonster project.  There is also a calendar of ideas for spreading kindness.  Consider becoming a RAKtivist like Bert from Pittsburg who shared "Kindness can be a smile, a kind word, or a helping hand. It is simply the act of caring for each other, without judgement."

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Watertown SEPAC - November & December Meetings

The following information was distributed via SEPAC's mailing list:

The Watertown Special Education Parent Advisory Committee (SEPAC) is an all volunteer pro-active, non-profit organization which serves as a resource for families who have children with special needs. We strive for respect, understanding, and an appropriate education for all children while encouraging full participation in community life. We sponsor informational monthly meetings, discussion groups and work closely with administration on all matters related to special education.

SEPAC IS PROUD TO OFFER
FIRST AID AND CPR FOR CAREGIVERS
Thursday November 13, 2014 at 6:30 – 8:30 PM in the Cunniff School library, 246 
First Aid for Caregivers presented by Mr. Richard Samaria of the Belmont Fire 
This two part workshop trains and certifies caregivers in First Aid
Childcare and refreshments will be provided.
&
Thursday December 11, 2014 at 6:30 – 8:30 PM in the Cunniff School library, 246 Warren St.
CPR for Caregivers presented by Mr. Richard Samaria of the Belmont Fire 
This two part workshop trains and certifies caregivers in CPR.
Childcare and refreshments will be provided.

We kindly request that you commit to both sessions to receive your first aid and CPR certifications. Class and certification cost is being covered by the Watertown SEPAC.

Please email Watertownsepac@gmail.com to reserve your place.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Kindness Elves

Came across a new blog this weekend:  Imagination Tree and read about an interesting idea, replacing "Elf on the Shelf" with "Kindness Elves".  See what you think~

"Kindness Elves: An Alternative Elf on the Shelf Tradition"


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Helping Kids and Teens Cope with Anxiety: A Workshop for Parents and Guardians

Link to EDCO Collaborative
November 5, 2014
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM
     Anxiety is the most common emotional problem in children and teens, and can sidetrack youngsters from learning, making friends and having fun. Does your child worry too much and/or seem intense and reactive? Does your child insist on doing things perfectly or get upset about making mistakes? Does your child get nervous around people or show reluctance to try new things? Or have meltdowns over little things?
     During this presentation, the presenter will discuss the differences between normal anxiety and problematic anxiety, red flags and warning signs, what you can do as a parent, and ready-to-use strategies to help your child. Other topics surrounding anxiety such as worry, shyness, separation anxiety, test anxiety, perfectionism, rituals and others will also be included.

Presenter:  Aureen Pinto Wagner Ph.D.is a sought-after international speaker who presents workshops for parents, school professionals and clinicians in the treatment of anxiety. She specializes in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), and has developed the child-friendly Worry Hill™ approach to making CBT accessible to youngsters. Dr. Wagner is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine.
Audience:  Parents and Guardians of students of all ages
Fee:  No cost – participants may consider making a donation of $5 – $10 to help defray the workshop costs.
Location:  EDCO Collaborative, Bedford
Registration:  Please contact Dana at EDCO via email, dmullaley@edcollab.org, or by phone at 781-259-3445.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Me and My Community

This school year, Guidance and Library Sciences will continue in the tradition of co-teaching our guidance series for our Kindergarteners through 5th graders.  (Kudos to Ms. Steim, our amazing librarian!)  We will once again, start with our leaders in grades four and five, spending four weeks talking about friendships, how to approach diversity and differences, and ways to prevent bullying in our school.  Weaving through our discussions will be threads of kindness, courage, and community.  Please visit the Lowell Guidance website for more specifics about the "Me and My Community" series.

On the issue of diversity, I learned something rather interesting this summer while taking a course called "Evolution & Cognition".  There has been some research evidence that we are not wired to be racially biased, although many of us actively categorize people by race and culture.  When shown pictures of "people" in generic shirts and different skin colors, subjects sorted and stored (remembered) the individuals based on their skin tones.  When the pictures had different soccer team uniforms instead of generic shirts, subjects remembered the "people" by their teams, or affiliation/coalition, rather than skin color.  Given the evolutionary history of human, it has always been important to our survival to be able to distinguish if someone belongs to the same "group" as us and whether they are friend or foe.

If we learn to recognize ourselves as a community, whether in the form of a classroom, a grade, a school, a town, etc., we will perhaps put down barriers embedded in perceived differences and be more inclined to be interested and respectful in the differences between us.  Seeing ourselves as a community may also help us engage in civil discourse when conflicts arise and help us multiple our acts of kindness.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

SibShops - Presented by Needham Youth Services

Needham Youth Services offers program for Siblings of Children with Special Needs

Do you have a child with special needs? Are you interested in getting support for his or her sibling(s)? Needham Youth Services is excited to present “Sibshops,” a FREE workshop for siblings of children with special needs. “Sibshops” is a place for siblings to obtain peer support and education, in a recreational setting. This workshop is geared towards siblings in 3rd to 6th grade, of children with special needs. The workshop will be held on Wednesday, April 23rd from 9:30am to 12:30pm. To apply or for more information, please contact Adina Alpert, Clinical Intern at Needham Youth Services at 781-455-7500 extension 268 or by email ataalpert@needhamma.gov.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Preparing for the Boston Marathon Bombings Anniversary

As we enter the month of April, and in doing so approach the date of last year's Boston Marathon and the actual Marathon this year on the Monday of school vacation week, some of us may experience a rise in thoughts and emotions related to last year's difficult events surrounding the Marathon.  Surely we may anticipate images and reporting in the media in the weeks to come.  Please take a minute and visit the page below for some helpful ideas in preparation for these weeks ahead.

Riverside Trauma Center Newsletter - Boston Marathon Bombings Anniversary

I encourage all of us to minimize our children's exposure to the media in the coming weeks, especially for children who tend to be anxious or who are sensitive to their sense of safety.  It is advisable to keep the television off, limit their exposure to news on devises, and refrain from discussing these matters in their hearing.  Children who are anxious tend to be hyperalert.  Even if they are a room away, they may be listening to our conversations, especially if we sound stressed or anxious.

If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to your pediatrician or school counselor.  I am sure they would be happy to help support your family through these times!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Survival Guide to Parenting Teens - Event

Announcement:

The Lowell School PTO recently received a grant from the Watertown Community Foundation for the purpose of bringing in a guest speaker to talk to parents about the transition into middle school. We have chosen Joani Geltman as our Guest Speaker for Wednesday April 2nd. This event will take place at the Watertown Middle School Auditorium from 7:00 - 9:00 PM with child care provided for ages 4 & up.

Childcare provided for ages 4 & up. Contact Lisa C. to reserve your spot: lisa_capoccia@yahoo.com

Joani Geltman is a child development expert, who loves to work with parents, tweens, and teens, and author of: "A Survival Guide to Parenting Teens: Talking to Your Kids About Sexting, Drinking, Drugs, and Other Things That Freak You Out"

Check out Joani's website at http://www.joanigeltman.com/about.html and her tip-filed blog athttp://joanigeltman.blogspot.com/.



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Early Childhood Fair in Watertown


Saturday, March 22nd, 9:30 - 11:30 AM at the Watertown Middle School, 68 Waverley Avenue, Watertown.  There will be information regarding local resources and a concert to follow at 11:30.  For more information, contact 617.926.1661 or email watertownfamilynetwork@gmail.com.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Resources for Addressing Grief and Loss with our Children


Sometimes, we might be charged with the difficult task of talking to children about death, grieving, and loss.  Below are some resources that might be helpful.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

SibShops Workshop in Needham

Do you have a child with special needs? Are you interested in getting support for his or her siblings? Needham Youth Services is excited to present “Sibshops,” a FREE workshop for siblings of children with special needs. “Sibshops” is a place for siblings to obtain peer support and education, in a recreational setting. This workshop is for siblings ages 8 to 11 years old, of children with special needs. This particular workshop will focus on siblings of children with Autism spectrum disorders, including Asperger’s and PDD. Priority is given to Needham residents, however, we currently expect to be able to accept non-Needham residents. The workshop will be held on Wednesday, February 19th, 9:30am to 12:30pm. To apply or for more information, please contact Adina Alpert, Clinical Intern at Needham Youth Services at 781-455-7500 extension 268 or by email at aalpert@needhamma.gov. An informational flyer and registration materials are attached. Please note the registration deadline has passed, but we are still taking applications.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Importance of Play

I love my teens! Everyone hears about how much I love these years with them, being able to converse and share interests. But I won't deny that I miss playing with them. Although we still find time to play cards and board games, I miss the magical play that transforms a playground into a jungle, a couch into a life raft, or a Barbie dollhouse into Hogwarts! In these cold winter months, I want to remind us to put down the phones and iPads, turn off the televisions, leave the laundry baskets for a little while and play, play, play with our children.

A couple of great quotes from a Peter Gray article (in British spelling and all):

"The most important skills that children everywhere must learn in order to live happy, productive, moral lives are skills that cannot be taught in school. Such skills cannot be taught at all. They are learned and practised by children in play. These include the abilities to think creatively, to get along with other people and cooperate effectively, and to control their own impulses and emotions."

and

 "All young children are creative. In their play and self-directed exploration they create their own mental models of the world around them and also models of imaginary worlds. Adults whom we call geniuses are those who somehow retain and build upon that childlike capacity throughout their lives. Albert Einstein said his schooling almost destroyed his interest in mathematics and physics, but he recovered it when he left school. He referred to his innovative work as “combinatorial play”. He claimed that he developed his concept of relativity by imagining himself chasing a sunbeam and catching up with it, and then thinking about the consequences. We can’t teach creativity, but we can drive it out of people through schooling that centres not on children’s own questions but on questions dictated by an imposed curriculum that operates as if all questions have one right answer and everyone must learn the same things."

Link to the complete article: Give childhood back to children: if we want our offspring to have happy, productive and moral lives, we must allow more time for play, not less by Peter Gray