Creating a sense of community is one of the most important things we can do to help our students learn. But, it’s hard to measure. As schools turn to the analytics and hard data of the business world to evaluate performance, standardized test scores and 3rd party rankings are becoming the balance sheets of education used to quantify school success, teacher effectiveness, and student achievement. Lost in this analysis is “the margin of the heart,” the often unquantifiable curriculum of community – the good stuff that enriches humankind.
Of all the skills we encourage our children to develop, social intelligence may be the most essential for predicting a fulfilling, successful life. Social intelligence is the ability to effectively negotiate interpersonal interactions and complex social environments. It involves effective communication skills, the ability to read non-verbal cues into how other people are feeling and virtues such as empathy and consideration.
Children learn appropriate behaviors by emulating adults. The easiest way to help your child learn qualities such as patience, forgiveness, compassion, generosity, and gentleness is to model these qualities in your day-to-day interactions with other people and with your children.
Preschoolers are social creatures, generally very interested in other and quick to notice and adopt social norms. They're becoming more able to control themselves, and more able to verbalize their feelings, opening up a host of options beyond for communicating and problem solving. The preschool years are a perfect opportunity to teach social habits and skills that will help them throughout their lifetime. If you would like to read a fascinating article that was recently in the New York Times about how work places are really just like preschool, click here.
It is completely natural for preschoolers to experience conflicts. Children this age usually want to have things go their way and yet have other children to play with. The ability to negotiate and compromise is honed through the conflicts that arise between toddlers. Be close by but do not intervene in a conflict until you feel that you absolutely need to. Even when you do intervene, make sure that instead of simply telling everyone what they should do, you help them empathize with each other and understand why they should behave in a particular way.
Some ways you can support the development of social intelligence in your child include:
Support their friendships. Honor and reinforce your child's developing friendships. Talk about them, remember them, create opportunities to play. Remember that children get aggravated with each other, just as adults do. It doesn't mean the end of a friendship, necessarily, just that they need help to work through the issues that come up.
Model respectful relating. Remember that your child will treat others as you treat her. Show your child respect, be tactful in the ways you talk to your child about how they are treating others, and help them work out difficulties when they play together.
Teach your child that people are important. Teach your child consideration for others. Model it for him early on, praise it, help him brainstorm to solve peer problems, and don't let your child intentionally or unintentionally disrespect another person.
Teach kids to express their needs and wants without attacking the other person. For instance:
"I don't like it when you push in front of me like that" instead of "You're mean!"
"I need a turn, too!" instead of "You're not letting me have the ball."
Help your child learn how to repair rifts in relationships. When we think about repairing relationships, we usually focus on apologizing. Giving children a chance to cool down first always works better and then ask them 'How can you fix it?'. Be sure to model apologies to your children and scaffold this process for them.
Remember, that teaching and modeling social skills is a process that takes time and patience. Stick to it - we promise you will see the results.
At BCD we make a positive school environment a big priority. From excellence in faculty to enthusiasm from parents to attention to physical setting and more, our efforts to develop Bulldog spirit are intentional and strong. But why does it matter?
Our Head of School, John Suitor, sat down with Boulder realtor, Lynn Ryan of RE/MAX of Boulder, to share what makes Boulder Country Day unique and a great place for students to discover their excellence.
Children are acquiring literacy from birth; from dinner table conversations promoting oral language development, to bedtime storytelling demonstrating that meaning can be made from text, to creating shopping lists which help children learn sounds and alphabetic symbols.
The importance of enrolling young children in a high quality preschool is a no-brainer for many parents. However, choosing the perfect program often feels like a pivotal decision that will impact a family and child for years to come.
This week Preschool is using drawing and labeling experiences to create individual dictionaries. Each day students have added at least three words (of their own choosing) to their dictionaries. In turn, they use the dictionaries alongside their journals to help build confidence as well as develop appropriate writing habits and strategies.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and preschool is a perfect time to introduce children to these concepts when they are naturally so inquisitive and curious about their world.
In our recent conferences we spoke to some of you about helping your children become more resilient. In preschool we measure that resiliency by many characteristics including the ability to be autonomous or independent, and only ask for help when it is really needed.
Every year in 4th grade we begin a project with the theme of discovery and learning about oneself that naturally becomes the theme for our year. It helps us discover what is most important to us. It also helps us learn more about who we are as individuals. We have been engaging in this work for the last week in writing and we can't wait to share our project with you. Below you will read a little description of what is known as the 4th grade project.
Its back-to-school-night and roundtable season and the anticipation is unfortunately more than amply over shadowed by its coinciding with fantasy football draft season. And as seasons go, so goes the airwaves.
This Friday we open the doors of our school to our grandfriends and I hope it serves as a reminder to us all to open our hearts and minds to them as well. It is said that a wise man allows others to speak into their life.
Back to school can conjure images of your child taking forever to pick out that just right kitten-faced spiral notebook, or coaxing their sleepy-head to rise at a their abruptly revised wakeup time, or generally ratcheting up the pace of our days back to their ‘school year’ level.