Here in the EC, our pre-kindergarteners can tell you that we have been at school for 50+ days. That's pretty impressive. In the face of a pandemic and dealing with social distancing and mask wearing, I'm thrilled that we are still open and welcoming our children and teachers back to school every day. We all talk about the "New Normal" and how challenging it is for us as adults to adapt. But here's the thing... for our littles, this IS their normal. For some of our really young children, this is all they know.
Now, here is the good news. YOUR CHILDREN ARE AND WILL BE FINE!
I feel confident in saying that because here at Levine Academy, your children are learning the skill of RESILIENCE every single day.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from stress, adversity, failure, challenges and trauma. Resilience is not something that a child either has or doesn't have. It is a skill that all children can develop as they grow. Here at Levine, we are strengthening your child's resilience every single day.
Our teachers are showing your child that he or she can be loved by someone other than mom, dad, grandma and grandpa. Building strong emotional connections with others is crucial for strengthening resilience. For our youngest students, learning that they can separate from mommy and be sad initially, but then happy and playful during school, is teaching them to be successful. By providing unconditional support, your child's teacher is empowering your child to take healthy risks, to work through difficult situations and to copy and practice problem-solving skills.
Andy Blum, our EC & Lower School counselor, teaches social skills to your children. She teaches your children how to identify emotions in themselves and in others. Andy teaches the children how to deal with stress and how to self-regulate emotions -- to count to ten, to take deep breaths. She also reads them books in which the characters are modeling resilience. Donna, our librarian, also reads many books to your children throughout the year that have to do with characters overcoming obstacles, facing fears, and being successful. Some of our favorite books are "Sometimes I'm Bombaloo", "Otis", "The Dot", "Pete The Cat" and "The Girl Who Lost Her Smile". All of this helps develop resiliency in your children.
In Jewish Studies, Suzanne teaches your children about all of our Jewish holidays. There are so many examples of resilience in our history and your children love to hear all about them; how Moses stood up to Pharaoh, how Queen Esther saved the Jewish people of Shushan, how David conquered Goliath and how Noah built an ark. Our history teaches us that if you are determined and you persevere, you can be successful.
In P.E., Ms. Rhonda and her staff are teaching your children the importance of exercise and taking care of their bodies. Studies have shown that exercise helps strengthen the brain and makes it more resilient to stress. We adults know the benefits of exercise to our own wellbeing and Ms. Rhonda teaches that to all of our children. In Music, Ms. Lisa gets the children moving and singing. She teaches the children songs that have been sung for generations. Ms. Lisa leads us in our Havdalah, Torah and Shabbat services. All of this, along with the joyful singing and dancing, helps reinforce our feeling of belonging -- whether to a class, a school or to a community. This feeling of belonging to something greater than ourselves also helps build resilience in all of us. In Science, Stephanie B. is teaching the children to question what they see, to take a risk and touch a worm, and to learn by making mistakes -- it's the scientific way... and it all strengthens resilience.
Our teachers also strengthen resilience by modeling behaviors; by giving a child the words to use if they are struggling to figure out how to join in play, by letting their class know that they make mistakes, too. Your child's teacher is also monitoring healthy and safe risk behavior on the playground. They are encouraging your child to try something new. But most importantly, your child's teacher is providing a safe, loving and structured environment in which your child can learn and grow. So parents, please don't worry. Your children are just fine!