January 7 Newsletter

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January 7, 2021
 
Dear Montrose parents and guardians,
 
Yesterday, our country experienced a disturbing upsurge of violence and breach of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C. The insurrection offers us an opportunity to take a moment and pause with our children to help them, and ourselves, understand what happened and how to engage in civil discourse surrounding a peaceful transfer of power and the existence of our democracy.
 
As parents, caretakers, and educators, it is our responsibility to help our children feel safe and secure, and to help them learn how to engage in civil conversations while offering different perspectives and viewpoints but doing so in a peaceful and respectful way.
 
We have many resources to guide us, here are a few: 
 
 
When Bad Things Happen from Teaching Tolerance
    
The following resources are helpful in guiding children to better understand how our government is set up and works:
 
Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government is a great resource from the Government Publishing Office (GPO) designed to inform students, parents, and educators about the Federal Government.
 
D is for Democracy: A Citizen’s Alphabet by Elissa Grodin details the political processes, parties, and people of democracy, American-style.
 
Amidst these events, we are still in the COVID-19 pandemic. Strong emotions and divisiveness can make normal events like an election feel uncontrollable, even high-risk, regardless of the outcome. Our reactions and our children’s reactions to these historic events (yesterday’s insurrection, today’s ratification vote, and the upcoming inauguration) may range from anger to euphoria.
 
 
Please be aware of and limit your child’s exposure to news media and social networking outlets and consider these helpful tips: 
 
• Assess what your child knows.  Address the tough stuff if your child brings it up. They might see things on TV or hear about the unrest at school. Be aware that younger children (like many of us) may react with deep emotion, may not react at all, or their reaction may fall somewhere in between. 
 
• Keep it simple. Keep Routines. Provide assurance to your children. Kids need to be reassured that this unrest isn't happening in our community per se and discuss the precautions that are in place that makes their world safe. At Montrose, our doors are locked during the school day and we allow no visitors during the day to ensure that our students and teachers are not exposed to possible COVID-19 exposure. Each morning, we greet our students at the door and welcome them with loving smiles. We look forward to talking with them and connecting to help them navigate what they are experiencing. We work through challenges and discover new things together.  For many students (and even us as adults) the routine of the school day eases anxious feelings and provides predictable consistency. 
 
• Ask and invite questions. Don't assume how your child feels or what they know. Instead acquire an understanding of what they know and feel. You can ascertain this by asking things like “Share with me what you heard today.” and “What are your thoughts about that? How can I help?” If they are scared, ask what they're afraid of - don't assume you know. Correct any misconceptions, and then offer assurance. They might be curious or even afraid. 
 
• Don't label feelings with judgement. Let them know that each of their feelings makes sense, and that it is okay to feel whatever they are feeling.  Parents and adults need to be aware of their own feelings regarding events, and then assess their own responses to crisis and stress.
 
• Remind your child of their locus of control.  Anxiety can come from a feeling of not having control of a situation. Talk with your child about what they do have control over. If they have worries, allow them to discuss that worry but then move on to another task. It is not productive to stay in a worried state and let feelings snowball about something out of their control or unlikely to happen. You can always have your child access our social emotional learning (SEL) resources to do a Brain Break or an activity from the Calm Room.
 
Please know that if your child is in need of support that we are available to support them. We are a team, in this together to support our children.
 
Our best,
 
Melissa Klosterman-Lando, Principal
Michelle Hipsley, School Counselor
Kourtney Koehler, School Psychologist
Shaun Stevenson, Librarian and Media Specialist
 
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Montrose Elementary School | 2555 E. Main St., Bexley, OH 43209 | (614) 237-4226




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