From the Principal’s Office:
Dear Evergreen Families,
It is hard to believe that the first month of school is already completed and we are moving into the month of October. Fall is certainly upon us in the Seattle Area and I would like to remind you to dress your child in layers for the classroom and outdoor times. We go outside even in drizzly weather and would like every child to have a coat that is water proof and allows them to participate in the “outdoor” classroom. Our new playgrounds are finished and the children are busy exploring every inch of them.
The month of October is filled with lots of fun seasonal activities. All of our classrooms will be going on their first field trip to the Pumpkin Patch. Be on the lookout for more information regarding your student’s trip. On October 30th the whole school will be celebrating Halloween with a parade. Costumes are encouraged, but please remember to leave weapons at home.
Our after school enrichment programs have started. Currently we are offering KidzDance, KidzGym, Mad Science, Tumble Gym and Amazing Athletes. If you missed the opportunity to join in the fun, you will have another chance to sign up for our winter and spring eight week sessions.
School Uniforms: Just as a reminder we are a uniform school Monday through Thursday. Friday is a free dress day, so please remember to wear our school colors of navy, forest green, white, black and khaki during the week.
- Girl’s jumpers, skorts, and skirts in navy blue, hunter/forest green, or khaki
- Hunter/forest green, navy blue, or khaki shorts or pants
- White, navy blue, or hunter/forest green polo shirts, button-down shirts, sweatshirts, or sweaters with or without the Evergreen Academy logo
- Closed-toe shoes or sandals with heel and toe straps
Lindsey Taylor, Principal
- October 1st: After School Enrichment Programs Starts
- October 6th: Foreign Language Program Starts
- October 16th: School Closed-Teacher In-Service
- October 30th: Halloween Parade
Minds in the Making: Focus and Self Control
This month we continue our exploration of “minds in the making,” as we delve into the first of the seven critical life skills every child needs. Ellen Galinsky, author and former president of National Association for the Education of Young Children, notes the first critical life skill to be Focus and Self Control. Living in a technologically-immersed world, we live in a fast-paced society with expectations of constant availability. Many children also feel this same sentiment of high-pace, rush, and stress.
A group out of Columbia University recently concluded a series of studies to determine what skills acquired in early childhood children need to be successful in school. Out of hundreds of complex analyses three skills emerged as the strongest predictors of achievement in school: strong emergent literacy skills at entry to K-12 schooling, strong foundational math skills at entry to K-12 schooling, and attention skills (Gunn, 2008). It is these attention skills, focus and self-control, that we will explore in more detail this month.
Focus and self-control are actually comprised of four sub-skills. These are focus, or the ability to orient and remain alert; cognitive flexibility, or the ability to shift one’s attention and thinking; working memory, or the ability to hold something in one’s mind and actively process it; and inhibitory control, or the ability to stick to a task with a purpose in mind. While these are skills that continue to develop across the childhood years and into early adulthood, the foundation for these skills begins at the earliest ages.
Focus and self-control begin with paying attention; be this the deep stare of a newborn, the curious gaze of a young infant, or the wide-eyed joyful watch of an older infant, attending to the world begins early. Helping children learn to focus and pay attention should be a part of your daily interaction with your child in a variety of ways.
- Read books in a dramatic way—change your voice, point to the pictures, involve hand movements, and encourage children to listen and repeat repetitive portions of text in the book.
- Play games that encourage attention—Games like “I Spy,” “Red Light/Green Light,” and guessing games force children to listen, attend, process, and use inhibitory control.
- Play games that encourage flexible thinking—Puzzles and games of pretend are the best examples. Play a game of pretend with your child and then change the scenario somehow. This forces him or her to rethink the pretend play in a new and different way.
- Encourage interests—Play into your child’s interests and help him maintain focus on these areas of interest. If your child wants to sell lemonade, work with him or her to make a plan, go through the steps, actually do the task, and reflect. If your child is focused on firefighters, encourage him to look for fire trucks on the ride to school or to count fire hydrants. These tasks all encourage focus and are a chance to engage working memory and inhibitory control, or the ability to continue to process information and to stick with a task.
- Lastly, model these skills for your child—While it is easy to get swept up in checking email on your phone or listening to the football game playing in the background, model the ability to switch focus, fully attend to the situation, and to stick to a task. Your child will do, or attempt to do, what he or she sees.
Lauren Starnes, PhD- Manager of Curriculum and Instruction