Archives for April 2013

Parent’s Wish

For my child I wish:
That they seek their happiness not so much at the finish line, as in the running;

That they have the strength not to lift tremendous weights, but one fallen friend;
That they learn to fight their own battles with a never-ending string of temporary cease-fires;
Not that the occasion make them smile, but that their smile make the occasion;
That their bridges be built not over rivers, but over misunderstandings; that their wealth be not in their banks, but in their hearts;
That they gain power not over others, but over themselves;
That they never fail to leave the stage before their applause is done;
That they bow not to little people with big titles, but to big people with little titles;
That they keep strict account not of favors owed them, but to others; Not that they never know grief, but that they never know joy the moment after;
That their names be household words not throughout the land, but in their own households;
That their monuments be found in public parks, but in the lives of those they’ve touched.

By: Jerry Spinelli

Author of “Maniac Magee”

Developing Character In Your Child

We often are asked to pause and take time to ponder which direction we are headed with our children and/or students. Since our own childhood, times have changed! The world has become a more complicated maze to maneuver within and feeling secure as well as safe is often difficult. Parents, teachers and adults who have contact with children need to work daily together toward the development of character within our children.

True character begins with self-esteem. High self-esteem, true self-esteem comes from believing that one is making the world a better place. Self-esteem when real is self-gard and comes from ethical behavior. Often in America, we are encouraged to be narcissistic, to constantly examine ourselves for dissatisfaction or to evaluate everything and every interaction in terms of what’s in it for us. As the parents and/or teachers of our children/students, we are asked to teach and model prudence, fortitude, justice, and temperance. As a result of reinforcing these characteristics we will boost a child’s self-esteem, confidence, and ability to cope as well as survive in our world today as a happy and productive, contributing human being.

The ability to govern and discipline oneself by use of reason is a skill that must be taught by parents, modeled by other adults and requires maturity. Children need to understand that everyone makes mistakes, and that mistakes create opportunities for learning and teaching. “To lose is to learn” – unknown. Mistakes require damage control and steps to prevent the mistake from occuring again. Of course, the goal is to understand that when a problem occurs, everyone is expected to remedy or make amends while learning (sometimes the hard way), which increases self-esteem. As adults, it is important to remember that each mistake is a life lesson.

It takes courage and staying power to survive in today’s world. It is the strength of mind and character which enables one to bear adversity. Modeling for children patience, perseverance, positive thinking, and self-reliance will assist them with life’s difficulties. All adults should avoid overindulgence like the plaque! A child’s every within and desire should not be given into or they will set up for unrealistic expectations. Children should be expected to persist in activities such as baseball, piano lessons, and dance lessons. In building solid character children should be expected to complete homework, finish tasks and chores. Children should be guided to grow away from adults and adult intervention physically, socially, and emotionally. Our job as the adults in their lives is to give them the skills to be independent functioning members of society.

A goal for our children/students is to develop the ability to treat others fairly, look after the rights of others, and thyself. This can happen by encouraging children to stand up for themselves respectfully, show respect to all others even in times of anger, make and keep promises, be honest and judge themselves rather than others. Adults, should reinforce and teach generosity, manners (please & thank you), impartiality and practice problem-solving as well as negotiation skills. Though we work daily to reinforce these skills in school, our job is often difficult when parents do not support the basic values of justice. We ask parents not to rescue or defend their children but embrace teaching their children to deal with situations of injustice through role play and discussion thus empowering them to solve problems independently.

We are seeing more children in school these days who lack self-control and the ability to limit or self-check. Adults must model control of emotions, enforce limits, teach children how to recognize personal warning signs, teach humility and how to establish a balanced life. Limiting television, video games, computer, devoting a special time for family as well as not allowing children to isolate themselves will assist with teaching temperance. Children have to be taught self-control tactics in many cases such as removing oneself to a quiet place, counting to 10, taking a deep breathe, and learning respectful behaviors/language.

As a result of taking time to teach, reinforce, and embrace a character developing attitude with children, and adults will find confidence and self-esteem in our youth today. “We know that success succeeds, that getting things right, mastering something, being productive, accomplishing anything, large or small, feels good and builds our self-confidence and our self-esteem” As adults who spend time with your children we ask for your assistance as we attempt to help your children move through the life lessons that occur when children are in our care. Remind your children that they own everything that they do. That their behavior tells us who they are. they are not separate from their behavior, bad or good, and others cannot make them or cause them to behave in an inappropriate manner and that you will not rescue them from their mistakes. We look forward to getting to know your child and family while welcoming you as part of our New Horizons Country Day School family. Thank you for your continued support of these values in the education of your child!

Sincerely,

The Faculty at New Horizons Country Day School

For further information:
“Discipline for Life – Getting It Right With Children” by Madelyn Swift

What To Look For In Classrooms

In a sincere effort and desire to be better able to support teachers, parents have asked, “What are some classroom practices I might look for to assess the application of current research?” The following questions may be helpful for parents to keep in mind during classroom visits and to teachers for the purpose of self-evaluation.

  • Is there a balance of teacher and student talk?
    Is the teacher’s voice the main voice or are students doing much of the talking? Does every child have an opportunity to be heard? Are teachers directing, or are they guiding and leading?
  • Do the students know the routines and procedures?
    Do the students rely on the teacher every time they have a question, or do they know the routines, assume responsibilities, use peers as helpers, and assume some self-management? Do things seem disorganized, or is there a well-planned flow from one activity to another?
  • Are the classroom walls by and for children?
    Is the children’s work displayed everywhere? Are the bullentin boards done by the children, with samples of writing, illustrations and projects, or are they commercial, perfect and cute?
  • Does the seating arrangement and teacher control allow for collaboration?
    Are students isolated in rows, or are they grouped so they can confer and assist each other building social and communication skills?
  • Is the teacher with the children?
    Is the teacher always standing front and center or sitting at his/her desk, or is he/she mostly among the children, demonstrating, facilitating, and guiding as needed?
  • Is there an orderly hum of activity?
    Is the classroom silent, or are students quietly talking with each other and actively engaged in various enterprises?
  • Is reading time focused on comprehension and understanding?
    Are children spending most of reading time oral reading, working on “skills,” and responding to literal level questions, or do they have frequent opportunities for self-selected, self-paced reading, responding to open-ended questions and participating in high-level discussions?
  • Is the independent work the children are doing meaningful?
    Are worksheets and workbooks being used with fill-in-the blank formats, or are there other purposeful activities that encourage open-ended responses which require thinking and application of experience and knowledge?
  • Do the children have choices?
    Is everyone doing the same activity, or are there opportunities for children to make decisions about their work for the day? Are there self-selected reading and writing activities?
  • Are there opportunities for students to work together?
    Are all activities being completed individually, or are pairs and groups of children reading, writing and problem solving together? Is there time for sharing, collaborating and contributing?
  • Is there a classroom library and cozy reading corner?
    Are there all types of literature attractively displayed and accessible to children? Are there reference books, dictionaries and thesauruses available? Is there a pleasant reading area where children can read in a comfortable position and with a friend?
  • Are there learning centers?
    (Learning centers should be evident at all grade levels.) Are those opportunities for exploration in centers such as math, science, listening, art, etc.? Is there an area where children can find different kinds of paper, writing, supplies, art materials, measuring tools and maps, globes and atlases?
  • Does the teacher use anecdotal records and observational data in evaluation?
    Does the teacher use only checks and grades in a grade book or is there also evidence of informal, observational data showing faculty knows and understands individual students?
  • Does the teacher provide demonstrations of literacy events?
    Does he/she read aloud? Does he/she teach skills in context? Does he/she teach conventions and qualities of good writing through mini-lessons? Does he/she model what good readers do through think-alouds and other strategic behaviors?
  • Does the teacher work with flexible groups?
    Does the teacher sometimes work with the whole group and other times with small groups or individuals?
  • Do children feel successful?
    Does the teacher provide experiences and materials that ensure each child success? Does the teacher accept approximations in reading and writing? Does the teacher celebrate each child’s attempts?
  • Do the students seem happy and actively involved?
    Are the children passively completing assignments, or are they excited about the opportunities for learning in their classroom?

Seven Secrets To School Success

by Jim Grant

Secret #1: Correct Grade Placement

This is the single most important secret to school success. A child must be ready socially, emotionally, and physically, as well as intellectually, for school. Make certain that your child is ready for the grade in which he or she is placed. Simply being alive the correct number of years is not enough to ensure that your child is ready for school. It is the child’s developmental age, not chronological age that helps determine school success.

Secret #2: Tip-top Physical and Emotional Shape

Children who are emotionally and physically distracted have a difficult time coping with schools demands. See that your child starts the day well rested with a well-balanced breakfast. A substantial breakfast fuels the brain, and your child will think, socialize, and perform better. Many children in Kindergarten and First Grade still require a day-time nap and between nine to eleven hours of sleep each night.

Dress your child to fit comfortably with classmates. Children who look out of place often feel out of place and may be treated like outcasts by their peers.

As your child leaves for school, send him/her off in upbeat, optimistic mood. Avoid before-school arguments, as they can set a negative tone for the entire day. Children who have a sense of emotional well-being benefit the most.

Secret #3: Watch for Stress Signals

Children always tell us who they are and what they need. Body language signals trouble long before a child can talk about it. Some children show stress through crying, nail-biting, nervous tics, becoming withdrawn, acting in insecure ways, reverting to thumb sucking, or through behavior that is out of character. As a parent, you know your child better than anyone else. Tune in to stress signs so you can prevent school stress before it starts.

Secret #4: Build Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem

Children who lack confidence, who have a poor opinion of themselves, may lack the motivation to succeed in school. Parents can help. Boost your child’s confidence! Praise your child in front of others. Build on strengths, not weaknesses! Never compare your child with others!

Secret #5: Read to Your Child

A child who is read to, will read. Children naturally love books and love to be read to. Reading together will show your child the importance of reading and will provide a special time for you to spend together each day. This will develop a positive attitude and sense of security.

Secret #6: Enthusiasm is Contagious!

You are your child’s primary role model. Your child tries to be like you by imitating you. If you think something is important, your child will think too.

Take an active interest in your child’s work. See that your child has a designated place and time to work. Set aside time to assist your child on homework and projects. By taking time to help, you display an interest that is extremely important in shaping your child’s attitudes and values.

Secret #7: Establish a Partnership with The School

Be an active participant. Keep the lines of communication open. When you form a close working relationship with the school, your child has a solid support system to build on. Your child receives a strong message of solidarity from the most important adults in his or her life – the child’s own parents and their daytime parents, teachers.

These seven secrets to school success are common-sense principles that will really help your child. Try them. They’re simple – and they work!

Thank you and your staff for the exceptional educational start

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you and your staff for the exceptional educational start you have provided Austin. The staff is attentive and consistent. It is evident through no only the educational activities, but also through their routine interactions with the children that they have the temperament and educational backgrounds necessary to provide the children with a positive educational environment. We have experienced other preschool programs in the past, none have addressed all the elements that this program has in such a positive way.

Rebecca Staubs

New Horizons Country Day School fosters a warm environment for learning

We have seen our little girl go from dreading to go to school to wanting to wake up an hour earlier not to be late for school. We have seen such growth in Aryma’s academic, creative and social ability… and an increased love for learning. NHCDS fosters a warm environment where children develop into independent, thoughtful, responsible individuals and likewise inquisitive learners. We have been extremely pleased with the high-quality and well balanced curriculum of reading, writing, arithmetic, science, arts-n-crafts, creative play, field trips and special activities provided throughout the year. The school has also shared supplemental resources and helpful information allowing us to contribute to her learning development as well.

Audrey Ashby/Ainsworth Moore

The education is superior!

We attribute our son’s love of learning to his teachers and staff at New Horizon’s. The curriculum is well rounded including hands on activities and it is expressed in their writing of compositions. The education is superior to others as attested to the amount of knowledge that my eight year old child has amassed.

Maria Kellner

What a terrific environment you present at New Horizons

At this time of Thanksgiving, I just wanted to take a moment to tell you how much I appreciate what a terrific environment you present at New Horizons. All of your hard work is very apparent in the attitudes of the staff, teachers and students. It seems so long since I sat in your office and voiced my concerns about my child starting school and adjusting to a new environment. She is so well adjusted and happy. We look forward to many more years at New Horizons!

Warm Regards, J. Vomero

New Horizons has a very special feel about it!

New Horizons has a very special feel about it. Every teacher our daughter has had has been genuinely interested in her. They have nurtured her and kept her academically challenged since kindergarten. After five and a half years at NHCDS, the staff and teachers feel like family to us. They are always accessible to discuss any concern, whether academic or social.

New Horizons is truly ‘doing great things with kids.’ We are pleased that our child is among the lucky ones to be educated and growing up in such a wholesome environment.

Kitty & Stein Adnreassen

Class Pictures For Preschoolers

ALL Preschoolers must wear their Green New Horizons T-Shirt for class pictures.

The children never complain about going to school!

Thank you for playing a big part in making our move to Florida such an easy transition for both us and the children. We felt at first sight that New Horizons was going to be the perfect place for Jason and Tarah, and we’re happy to say we were right.

We have seen so much growth in both Jason and Tarah in the past two years. All their teachers have been so kind to our children. They are all enthusiastic about their work, and it shows. Our children have felt like part of a family. Not once-never-has either of them complained about going to school in the morning. They bound out the door and into the car every school day. The only problem we have is getting them to leave aftercare to come home!

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Class Pictures For Elementary

All Elementary Students must wear their Red New Horizons Polo shirt for class pictures.