Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Play Dates!

The holiday break is approaching and the one thing we commonly hear as parents is "I'm Bored!"  What do we do to keep the kids engaged and having fun in the most practical way possible?  

The Play Date!! 

Play Dates are when two or more children get together in either the home or a mutually designated spot for play time outside of school.  Many people believe that playdates are are great way for children to develop their social skills while making meaningful friendships along the way.  Here are some ideas for play dates....

10 Fun Indoor Playgroup Playdate Ideas
Play Date Activities to Help Children with Autism Learn Social Emotional Skills

Sometimes the first step in securing a play date is to step outside our comfort zone and talk with another parent about the possibility of a play date.  This can be done organically at school events, the playground etc.  This is where you can strike up a conversation and exchange phone numbers or email addresses.

Happy Holidays!!! 

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Tips for a Successful IEP Meeting

Tips for a Successful IEP Meeting 
Learn what to do before, during and after an IEP meeting.
(adapted from www.greatschools.org)

As a parent, do you approach IEP meetings with fear and dread? If so, here are some suggestions to help you feel more at ease and able to participate as a full member of the team that plans your child's special education program.

Before the Meeting:

  • Build a positive relationship with at least one person on the IEP team. This will help you feel more comfortable.
  • Use the IEP Planning Form to plan your questions and comments ahead of time. 
  • If you wish to share the results of a private evaluations, send copies of the reports to the team ahead of time (at least one week) so they can be familiar with the data before the meeting.
  • Review current reports, last year's IEP (if applicable), and Parents' Rights and Responsibilities sent to you annually.

During the Meeting:

  • Understand that, as the parent, you are an integral part of the team.  
  • Find a way to personalize your child to the team. Talk about strengths, characteristics and talents.
  • Be prepared for staff to refer to their observations and evaluation data to support their opinions about what is appropriate for your child. This may be differ from your opinion, but it is best to look at the "Big Picture" when planning for educational needs.
  • Keep focused on what you want answered or provided for your child (Refer to your IEP Planning Form).
  • Don't hesitate to ask questions and seek clarification. 
  • Bring a trusted person with you - spouse, partner, relative, neighbor, friend - so you'll have a support system and another set of ears to hear what others have said. If you decide to bring a friend or advocate, you should inform the school so they are aware of whom you're bringing.
  • Ask to take the IEP home to review if you're unable to make a final decision at the meeting. 
  • If you have serious doubts or concerns about the IEP, put those concerns in writing and return them to school with the unsigned IEP as soon as you have made your decisions. You may withdraw your permission at any time.
  • Talk to your child, in terms she'll understand, about what was discussed at the IEP meeting. 
  • Place the IEP in the binder or file where you keep other school notices and reports. 
  • Meet with her special education teacher to share observations and to learn how you can reinforce at home the skills and strategies being taught to her at school.

And remember, the team is working in the best interest of your child.  Together, we can help students improve their skills every day!
Updated 2011

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month!

Hello Parents! 

Last week, we had Jim Jelinske come to Windsor School and speak to not only our parents and staff, but also with our students about bullying prevention and awareness.  Jim was energetic and exciting and delivered a very important message to all students from kindergarten through fifth grades!

The main themes that Jim highlighted can be taught not only at Windsor School, but also can be talked about at home at the dinner table too!

If your child feels as though they are experiencing a conflict with another student, the first thing to do is to ask that student to "Stop" and to explain to them that they do not like it when they say or do such things.  

If the behavior persists, there are three steps to stop a bully:

1. STOP - Your child will tell the student to stop the behavior. 

2. THINK - Your child will think about the conflict (Was it planned? Did it hurt the person’s body, feelings, belongings, or relationships? Or did it threaten or frighten the person?  Was it one-sided? Was it done more than once?) 

3. REPORT - Students are all encouraged to notify teachers, lunch personnel, office staff, recess supervisors, parents etc. if they feel that bullying has occurred.  They should report right away after the behavior occurred.   

No student should feel unsafe at school.  Please encourage your child to STOP, THINK, AND REPORT if they feel they have been a victim of bullying.

Please don't hesitate to contact the school if you have any questions or concerns.  It is up to the community as a whole to teach safe behavior to all!  

Mrs. Impastato

Monday, September 9, 2013

Anxiety in School Aged Children

Anxiety in School Aged Children
Tips for Parents

School can be a difficult time for some children.  With the fall well underway, it can become stressful for students when learning classroom expectations and curriculum within a new grade level.  Anxiety is common and can often be what we refer to as "nerves" or "butterflies in our stomachs" when we embark on a new experience or event.  It is important to recognize in your child when the anxiety becomes too big and you may need to seek out some support. Here are some ways to recognize when your child may be experiencing high anxiety...

Common Red flags

Demonstrating excessive distress out of proportion to the situation: crying, physical symptoms, sadness, anger, frustration, hopelessness, embarrassment
  • Easily distressed, or agitated when in a stressful situation
  • Repetitive reassurance questions, "what if" concerns, inconsolable, won't respond to logical arguments
  • Headaches, stomachaches, regularly too sick to go to school
  • Anticipatory anxiety, worrying hours, days, weeks ahead
  • Disruptions of sleep with difficulty falling asleep, frequent nightmares, difficulty sleeping alone
  • Perfectionism, self-critical, very high standards that make nothing good enough
  • Overly-responsible, people pleasing, excessive concern that others are upset with him or her, unnecessary apologizing
  • Demonstrating excessive avoidance, refuses to participate in expected activities, refusal to attend school
  • Disruption of child or family functioning, difficulty with going to school, friend's houses, family gatherings, errands, vacations
  • Excessive time spent consoling child about distress with ordinary situations, excessive time coaxing child to do normal activities- homework, hygiene, meals.(Adapted from www.worrywisekids.org)

Here are some ways you can help at home....
  • Pay attention to your child’s feelings.
  • Stay calm when your child becomes anxious about a situation or event.
  • Recognize and praise small accomplishments.
  • Don’t punish mistakes or lack of progress.
  • Be flexible and try to maintain a normal routine.
  • Modify expectations during stressful periods.
  • Plan for transitions (For example, allow extra time in the morning if getting to school is difficult). 
Your child’s anxiety may affect success at school. If anxiety is causing your child to struggle at school academically or socially, the first step is to talk to the teacher, principal, or counselor about your concerns.  
(Adapted from www.adaa.org)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Welcome to Windsor!!

Welcome to my Windsor Blog!! I am Mrs. Impastato, the new full time Social Worker at Windsor Elementary School! I am so excited to be here and I cannot wait to meet all of the students!  If you have any questions about the social work program, please do not hesitate to contact me at jimpastato@sd25.org!  Please check back for information pertaining to student social emotional growth!