• Message From the Principal

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    Upper body Picture of Principal Shawntanet Jara


    March 29, 2020

    Dear Solana Highlands Families,

    I hope that this communication finds you healthy and well with your families. I am a big believer in making lemonade out of lemons, and this pandemic is a great opportunity for all of us to focus on our health and families.  Instead of being rushed and over scheduled, we now have the time to play board games, watch movies, read books, bake, write, do arts and crafts, have dinner together and many other positives that are often usurped by all the things that working and raising children throws at us.  

    Of course, all of this free time, brings other challenges for our children. The last couple of weeks have felt much longer than our typical weeks that seem to breeze by, and while the stress and uncertainty of this current situations is the main culprit, perhaps, too much free time for children and not enough structure is adding to the chaos of the days.   Now that we have started distant learning, I think that this will help provide our students, your children, with structure and routine; something that we all need, but has probably been lacking over the last week when school and life became disrupted do to the Covid-19 virus. 

    To help bring structure and control to students it might be helpful to help our children create a schedule of their day. This will help children feel empowered, more self-disciplined, proactive, and thus, reduce nagging from us as parents!  Talk about win-win!

    The following schedule is one that can be downloaded, modified, and printed, to help keep things more predictable while you're at home with the kids. https://mommyhood101.com/daily-schedule-for-kids

    Instructions for creating a daily schedule:

    1. Create the routine chart together with your child. Invite them to list tasks and work/projects that need to be done. If something is left out, ask, “What about ____(laundry, instrument practice, exercise, etc.)?”
    2. Then ask, “What school work and other priorities (Big Rocks to use our Leader in Me Language) do you want to have to complete along with your other responsibilities and activities?” Write down the responses.
    3. After listing all the items, ask your child to rank order them to create the daily schedule, including the time allotted for each (see below).
    4. If your child fails to follow the schedule, instead of reminding, let the routine chart be the boss: “What is next on your chart?”
    5. Use the chart as a “To-Do” or checklist vs. rewards chart which takes away from your child’s intrinsic sense of accomplishment and capability.

    Adapted by Lois Ingber, LCSW, CPDLT with permission from “Positive Discipline” authors Jane Nelsen and Lynn Lott www.positivediscipline.com

    If you are finding that your child is still having difficulty with becoming more independent and intrinsically motivated, you may have to help them by building self-awareness.  The following link -https://drive.google.com/file/d/1X7sVN4-mcMnqzjAik5ymsm923v0Ha_7X/view was created by two parents who use what is called a Self and Match Chart where your child can assess (self-monitor) themselves during the various periods of the day and then you follow-up with what you observed.  This a common tool used with students.

    One thing to keep in mind, is that children need frequent breaks.  A rough rule of thumb is a child can stay focused on a task for two to five minutes times the year of their age. So, young kids should be able to focus between 4 and 20 minutes, possibly more, depending on the task. But this rule of thumb, just like any guideline for raising children, depends on the situation. "Attention span has to be contextualized," says Neal Rojas, M.D., a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at the University of California, San Francisco. "Are we talking about the first thing in the morning, the middle of the day, before naptime, before bedtime? I tell [parents] that they will see a variation throughout the day. Attention span is elastic." So be sure to build in plenty of breaks during the day. 

    Please know that we are here for your children and families.  As the health and safety of our students is always our highest priority, our SEL Team have created the following survey in the event that your child needs support from our Guidance Assistant or Counselor:   https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdhGDHKclHGRDEjG--pxAzPb5NaUGIHhQiQHvnPpOwN1AvgUQ/viewform

     Please remember to:

    • Limit Social Interactions: The key to slowing the spread of COVID-19 is to limit social interactions as much as possible.
    • Practice Social Distancing
    • Clean and Disinfect: Make sure children practice everyday preventive behaviors, such as cleaning and then disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.
    • Revise Spring Break & Travel Plans: Parents should help their older children revise spring break plans that include non-essential travel to crowded areas.



    Shawntanet Jara
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Solana Highlands Elementary School

    Mrs. Jara’s Twitter: @LeadwLovePower
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PTASolanaHighlands/

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