December 2017 Newsletter

Mental Wellness

I often tell people that although schools have lots of room to improve, we have come a long way in the last twenty years. One area, we as schools have improved, and I believe society has as well, is in recognizing signs and symptoms for children suffering from Mental Illness. “Supporting Minds: An Educator’s Guide to Promoting Students’ Mental Health and Wellbeing”, defines Mental Health problems as emotional, behavioural and brain-related difficulties that may have a negative impact on students’ well-being and interfere with their functioning at school, at home, in the community and in social settings. It is estimated by the Canadian Mental Health Association that almost one in five children suffers from a mental health problem.

Just as with academic learning issues, when mental health concerns are identified early, the easier it is to help. Educators are not mental health professionals. Simply by the nature of our work we see many children over many years. We have a sense of what atypical behaviours look like. Educators do not “diagnose mental health concerns” we simply share observations of what we see and hear with parents. For example, it is normal for children to have temper tantrums when they are very young. When we see atypical outbursts of anger last in into junior and intermediate students we often alert parents. At the school level, with parents’ consent we can make referrals to the Mental Health and Addictions Nurse who is in our building one day per week to meet with students. The following blurb is taken directly from the Canadian Mental Health Association Website. It is a great resource for parents.

What parents can do

Listen to your instincts if you are worried about your child. Collect as much information as you can. You are probably in the best position to know if your child’s behaviour requires further attention. Arrange to meet with a well-trained and trusted professional.

It can be confusing trying to tell the difference between symptoms of mental illness and normal challenges that all kids experience from time to time. As parents, you can use observable behaviours to help decide what action you need to take by:

  • circling the behaviours from the list that concern you (especially those lasting a few weeks or more)(see Canadian Mental Health Association Website for the list)
  • speak to your child regarding your main concerns (no more than 3 and keep it brief)
  • listen to their response for an uninterrupted 3 minutes if you can
  • let your child know you will help work out difficult issues together
  • Arrange to meet with a trusted and trained professional to discuss your concerns and how to access help. You don’t have to do this alone. Help is available.

School Council Report

I would like to thank all our families who came out and enjoyed our math night. There was lots of fun to be had by all – and practising our math skills at the same time!

There will not be a December council meeting but we will be meeting again on January 10, 2018 at 7:00 in the school library. Everyone is welcome.

Reminder that the pepperettes and poinsettias will be at the school and are to be picked up on Thursday, November 30, 2017 between 3:00 and 5:45. If you are not able to pick up between those times, please make arrangements as the poinsettias need to be cared for and should not be left at the school overnight. I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone all the best of the upcoming holiday season and a very happy and healthy new year.

Heather Johnston, School Council Chair heather@kyjosteel.com

YMCA After School Programs

Anyone interested in any of our Child Care programs can access our new waitlist at https://onehsn.com/stratford. Please call if you have any questions!

Christmas Break is fast approaching! December 27th – January 5th.  If you are interested in the School Break PA Day Program please contract Krystle Linden at 519-271-0480 or krystle_linden@ymca.ca. YMCA Programs are CLOSED December 25th, 26th, and January 1st.

Other Upcoming Dates: • PA Day February 2nd 2018 • Family Day February 19th 2018

Reminder to dress for the cold and wet weather, as we do enjoy getting outside to explore and play! If you have any school age inquiries please contact me at Maggie.curtis@ymca.ca or 519-273-9622

Kindergarten Registration for September 2018

If you missed our Kindergarten Registration Day in November, please call the school and we can get you a registration package. Please tell any neighbours or friends that have a child who will be attending Kindergarten next September.

Stratford-Central – January 15, 2018 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. Stratford-Northwestern – January 23, 2018 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Reminder

Families interested in Before or After School Childcare programs, should complete the on-line survey no later than Friday December 15th. The survey is available on the AMDSB website.  Should you require a paper copy, please contact the school. We appreciate your assistance, as we determine the feasibility of offering such programs.

Food and Milk Orders for February and March 2018

The food and milk orders forms, with payment, are due back at the school on Monday January 15/18. On line ordering and payment is available until Wednesday January 17/18. Paper copies are still available by request.

Parents/Guardians

As winter is quickly approaching we want to share with you our process for cancelling buses in inclement weather. The safety of our students and staff is our main priority. While we know there will be circumstances when buses are cancelled, we want to ensure you that we will do our very best to keep schools open. When buses are cancelled there is still meaningful work and learning occurring in our classrooms. To see if a school bus is cancelled or delayed or whether your school is closed, please visit:  https://ourschoolbuses.ca/ .You can also find the most current information on the Sprucedale Public School Website .

You can also follow us on Twitter @SprucedalePS. Mr. Rauser will also endeavour to send out emails to those families who have kept a current email on file with the school. When schools are open to students during inclement weather, school pick up time at the end of the day remains the regular dismissal time.

We believe:

Schools should be accessible and open to our students whenever possible.

We believe:

And research shows that what teachers do each and everyday in their classrooms with students has the greatest impact on student achievement.

We Believe:

Weather absences should be a rare occurrence at schools.

Our Goal:

To serve our students on as many school days as possible while maintaining safety in winter conditions.

Schedule Changes

The school has a 24/7 answering machine. If you know in advance that your child’s schedule will change please call: 519-625-8722 in advance.

This supports ample notice for arrangements to be made with your child’s teacher to ensure a smooth, low disruption arrival and departure from class.

If you would prefer to email in advance, you can email: Lori.Darling@ed.amdsb.ca Thank-you!

Student Safety

Please keep cars out of the bus loading and unloading zone.

Please do not bring vehicles into the main driveway out front of the school from 8:35 to 8:50 and from 3:10 until all buses have departed. It is unsafe for our students to have cars moving in that area while loading buses. Please remember, children are beautifully unpredictable, they run in places in which we might not expect. Please pick up children at the back near the Ball Diamond or park on the side street and walk in to meet your child.

Safety Drills

Each Fall and Spring we practice a variety of safety drills with all of our students. In both the Spring and Fall we conduct three fire drills, one Severe Weather Drill, one Hold and Secure or Lock Down Drill. We do our very best to do these in a sensitive manner so that we have an opportunity to practice without scaring young children. We also have several staff members at the School who are trained in First Aid and ready to respond. As educators we would only perform the simplest of First Aid Measures – at the school we do not hesitate to dial 911 if need be to make use of the excellent Emergency Responders who work so hard to keep us all safe.

Holiday Concert

We look forward to getting everyone into the Christmas Spirit on Thursday, December 14th as our primary students perform some holiday numbers to get us moving and ready for the festive season. Our afternoon performance will begin at 2 p.m. and our evening performance will begin at 6:30 p.m. We hope to see everyone there.

Christmas Holidays

The last day of school before the break is Friday December 22, 2017.  We will return to school on Monday January 8, 2018!

Please have a safe and enjoyable break. See you in 2018!

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