In the Classroom, Kindness = Connection + Caring

Connection and love, Feelings and emotions, Tips & Tools

 

Many of us entered teaching believing in our abilities to be consistently kind. In reality, vacillating between kindness and being authoritarian is a common cycle, especially when class sizes and challenging students make the job feel overwhelming. 

Kindness and compassion from a teacher are a powerful model for our students. Kindness does not have to mean being wishy-washy and letting the classroom descend into chaos or being overly sweet and positive. It means respecting the student AND the routines, expectations, and agreements of the classroom…as well as ourselves. 

How can we as teachers do this…maintaining a firmness that allows …

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For Parents, a New Look at Kindness

Connection and love, Feelings and emotions, Tips & Tools

Is it possible to be a kind parent while also holding fast to family agreements, values and expectations?  It is. Sometimes we go back and forth between being kind OR firm with our kids. Actually, being kind is being connected to your children, while holding them accountable to the expectations of the family. In this month celebrating love, we invite you to look at ways to practice  kindness and connection. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Being present is an act of kindness: 15 minutes of scheduled one-on-one time every day. Children need to feel a sense of …

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PCEs and ACEs

Connection and love, In the News, Tips & Tools

There is a lot of information now on the impact of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and how they change the brain in ways that make learning more challenging. Emerging also are studies which show how, combined with Positive Childhood Experiences (PCEs), children can grow to be sensitive, strong, and capable adults. Building PCEs for the students in your classroom can be done with intentional small shifts in thinking and practice.

Myths about PCEs:

  • It is about happiness. Of course, we feel better when our students feel better. That leads us to wanting to make them happy. It turns out though,
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Building Family Connections

Connection and love, In the News, Tips & Tools

Relationships matter. As human beings, we have a deep pull toward being connected to each other. We learn about who we are in the context of social connections. There is clear data that shows that these positive childhood experiences have long term benefits. Those connections change the way our brain grows which influence the way we interpret and respond to the world around us. Families play a big role in how we make meaning of ourselves and the world. Children who hold the belief and experience that there is another person in the world to whom they really matter are …

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Memories Matter

Connection and love, Routines, Tips & Tools

August is the time of year for most of us that we are holding on to the last weeks of time with our families while are brain is increasingly thinking about the coming school year. There are so many details to think about – and a deep sense of curiosity and anticipation in getting to know our “new” students. If you think back to your own years as a student, what memories stand out that helped you know you belonged or you mattered at school. Was there one particular teacher? A set of friends? An event or some particularly interesting …

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Making Memories

Connection and love, Routines, Tips & Tools

What are your memories of your family growing up? Some of us have treasured memories of joy and connection. Others have memories of challenges or stressful experiences. Most of us have some mixture. It turns out that childhood memories become the foundation for our adulthood. They influence how we relate to our parents or caregivers and also how we relate to the young people we care for; be they our own children, nieces or nephews or children of other people we love. You can think about how you decided to be “like” your parent and recreate some of the memories …

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Instilling joy and contentment

Connection and love, Feelings and emotions, Tips & Tools

When we ask educators what they hope for in their students when they enter adulthood, they usually respond with a long list of life skills which include a sense of connection, peace, and contentment. Even though you have huge responsibility for teaching academic subjects, as educators you also value the human being doing the learning. There are many things you do in the classroom that invite both a joy in learning and a sense of joy and contentment in life.

  • Share your joy in teaching. Not every moment is joyful, but you didn’t take on this job for the
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Planting Seeds of Contentment

Connection and love, Feelings and emotions, Tips & Tools

What helps a child grow into a happy, content adult? Happiness is the result of strong social emotional health that is built up over time. It starts with meeting your child’s need to be soothed as an infant, helping them manage “big” feelings and by modeling and supporting a sense of hope and optimism as they deal with the challenges and joys of childhood. . How we look at the world and our place in it, influences our degree of contentment. We can encourage our children to be happy.

  • Model practices which create happiness: positive self-talk, celebrating gratitude, appreciating
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    Fostering Friendships

    Connection and love, Tips & Tools

    Friendships are important for your children…and they can be complicated! As human being we need to know that we belong and that we matter. One of the important ways we do that is through our relationships with our peers. Of course as a parent, you want your child to have lots of good friends and few disappointments. And, it doesn’t always work that way. Part of learning how to have friends involves lots of ups and downs.

    Some children have an easier time building friendships than others – just as some find learning to ride a bike or learning to …

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    Finding Friends at School

    Connection and love, Tips & Tools

    Friends make difference. Having a friend means you are not alone, that someone sees you and someone cares about you. Friendships help students know that they matter. For human beings that sense of being cared for and seen is critical for our sense of well-being. What we now know is that without that sense, our stress levels go up. When our stress levels go up, our internal survival mechanism turns on and our ability to focus and to put new ideas into long term memory goes down dramatically: we can’t learn. So, building a classroom community in which every student …

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