Abby’s Corner – News from Tapscott!May 12, 2017
A Peek into Program
Each year our Tapscott Green Committee works to ensure that we celebrate and deepen our commitment to being a Green School all year long, and especially during our annual Earth Week in April. This year, a few fun traditions continued such as daily Earth Week Poetry read aloud by students over the intercom and lemonade making by our Garden Club. We also continued with our tradition of walking, biking, busing, BARTing, or carpooling to school. I’m pleased to report that the “Walking School Bus” from my house to campus was the most successful to date! It was truly a great way to start our morning, and my hope is that as the weather becomes consistently a bit warmer, I’ll be able to announce a few more opportunities for the Walking School Bus this year. Many thanks to those who remembered (this is truly the biggest challenge!) and dropped off or joined us to walk together.
Sunset and Midnight, our beloved bunnies, had some additional guests on campus during Earth Week in the form of the petting zoo. Students were able to learn a bit about the animals as well as interact with animals they might not have in the past, such as a tortoise, alpaca, and potbelly pig. It was great fun, and an additional reminder that one way young students can feel connected to the environment is to understand and connect with the animals that inhabit different areas.
Thanks to our incredible technology team, third and fourth grade families participated in an informative morning about how best to support our students to make responsible choices about technology and social media. This year we are seeing an increase in how much our students are engaging with online media, and we feel it’s important to talk with parents about what is out there, what resources are available, and what family engagement around technology use can look and sound like.
Many parents suggested that we share some advice more broadly given the number of devices now being used with much younger students. I appreciate this insight and have therefore included a resource and one tip worth knowing.
Helpful Tech Resource: Common Sense Media has articles, research, ratings, and suggested ages for things such as books, movies, and TV shows. You can download the app to your phone. I use this all of the time!
Helpful Tech Tip: For those families who have Netflix on iPads, there are two levels of “filtering.” To begin, you can create profiles so that different family members can view different shows. This profile does put you within an age-range, however it does not actually make it so students cannot view things outside of their age range. To set an actual restriction, you must go into settings and select a specific age filter (young child, older child, teen, for example) which will require a password for those shows being watched that are more mature than the selected setting. I highly recommend setting up a filter that seems appropriate for your child. Netflix has a “trending now” section that currently is highlighting some very mature shows that elementary aged students would be disturbed by (such as 13 Reasons Why, for example). Please see me if you need support around this!
Spring means lots of sports activities in some households. It also means that it stays light later. It can be easy to slip into allowing for later bedtimes and major disturbances in nightly routines. For all elementary aged students, a nightly routine, a consistent bedtime, and 10-12 hours of sleep nightly is needed. If they do not have these things, their school day and ability to learn and focus is compromised.
For students to be their “best selves,” we have seen that consistently getting the right amount of sleep is critical. It’s also important to note that lack of sleep is cumulative, meaning that the impact of one night of lost sleep can roll over for several days. In my home this means having a conversation about which night on the weekend will be a late night, and then trying to make up for that loss right away rather than adding to it with another night of less sleep which can make for a tough week.
This is just my reminder of what you all know to be true as parents, which is that insisting upon sleep and the normal bedtime really does make for a better week at home and school. In spring, it’s easy to start to act like it’s already summer. However, there are still many important weeks of school left, including important events such as end of year assessments, end of unit celebrations, publishing wrap-ups, and lots of sharing of learning. Kids do much better with these things with a good night’s sleep, so please try your best to keep this in mind as you negotiate the demands that spring always brings!
Abby Guinn, Elementary School Division Head