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Oak Knoll School Blog

How Schools Can Help Foster Inclusivity

Posted by Laura Perillo on Apr 16, 2021 11:47:47 AM

As most of the nation gears up to send their children back into the physical classroom (hopefully) after months of virtual learning, parents will place a large part of their child’s development directly back into the hands of their school system.

Schools have a tremendous impact in the lives of our children. One way to help ensure that we are raising good humans is to work in tandem with our schools to help foster inclusivity – the practice or policy of including people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalized.

Every parent wants their child to feel included, accepted, to make friends and to have an overall positive experience and year in the classroom.

Here are several ways that schools can work together with parents, and their communities to help foster inclusivity.

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Topics: project-based learning, social and emotional learning, diversity, equity, inclusion and justice

The Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Snow Days

Posted by Laura Perillo on Jan 28, 2021 9:34:39 AM

What would childhood be like if you’ve never put a spoon under your pillow, flushed ice cubes down the toilet or put on your pajamas inside out the night before a winter snowstorm?

A true milestone of growing up is the ever-so-coveted snow day – the gift that all children angst for each winter when that first hint of snow is detected in the forecast. 

While skipping school for the day is the most immediate and best part of a snow day for most children, there are many other hidden mental and physical health benefits associated with snow days. Considering our current pandemic situation, snow days are more important now than ever before.

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Topics: high school, elementary school, parenting, middle school, social and emotional learning, mental health

How To Manage Getting A 'Bad' Grade

Posted by Laura Perillo on Nov 7, 2020 10:07:04 AM

With the rising pressure to succeed felt amongst students today, it’s no wonder that receiving a lower grade than expected may leave many students feeling anxious and defeated.  

It’s not the end of the world, however, when the grade on top of your quiz or test isn’t what you had hoped for. There are several different strategies and steps to follow that may help you navigate the process after earning an undesirable grade.

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Topics: high school, learners, middle school, student advice, social and emotional learning

How to Stop 'COVID Shaming' and Why It Matters

Posted by Laura Perillo on Oct 30, 2020 11:00:00 AM

While social distancing, wearing masks and avoiding gatherings weakens the spread of COVID-19, something else is growing stronger among communities at an alarming rate.

COVID shaming – or the act of publicly embarrassing someone who either has COVID-19 or is quarantining as a precautionary measure while they wait for test results after possible exposure – is real and now weaving its way through the gossip circles in neighborhoods and on school campuses. It is especially on the rise on social media. 

While many schools in our state and throughout the country are seeing upticks of COVID-19 cases heading into the winter months, it is important to remind ourselves about keeping the shame at bay. 

Here are some helpful tips:

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Topics: parenting, student advice, social and emotional learning, mental health, COVID-19

Behind the Mask: Staying Connected while Physically Distant

Posted by Laura Perillo on Oct 1, 2020 1:26:01 PM

This fall, parents who were able to send their children into the classroom – whether a full day or via hybrid model – lined up their children’s backpacks and pencil cases the night before their first day of classes. Also sitting among that pile of new school supplies was 2020’s newest necessity required for in-person school days – a mask.

While the CDC requires that masks be worn this fall while in the classroom and out in public to help keep COVID-19 at bay, this new normal does not arrive without its challenges.

One of the biggest challenges with mask-wearing is that faces are covered, therefore making social cues less reliable and sometimes difficult for children to interpret.

With the school year well underway, here are some helpful tips on how teachers and children can connect with one another when faces are not fully visible.

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Topics: teaching, elementary school, social and emotional learning, Coronavirus

How to Instill Empathy and Compassion in Children

Posted by Laura Perillo on Sep 21, 2020 11:00:00 AM

Raising kind and compassionate children is inevitably one of the most – arguably the most – important tasks that parents and caregivers are responsible for. Of course, parents want their children to do well in school, get involved in activities and make friends, but the foundation to raising a kind human being all boils down to the basic of principals – teach your children to become empathetic and compassionate toward others. 

This, however, does not happen overnight. In fact, it takes a lot of practice. But the process can start when children are young. Between the ages of 6-9 months, infants focus on parents’ reactions to social events and mimic them to learn how to operate in a social world. Between 18-24 months, toddlers begin to develop their own theories about the way the world works by attributing thoughts, feelings and intention to others and themselves. 

So, how can you instill empathy and compassion in children? Melissa Nelson, Oak Knoll's Lower School Guidance Counselor, says there are several ways parents and caregivers can model and guide, starting when they are very young: 

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Topics: elementary school, lower school, parenting, social and emotional learning

How to Mask Train Your Child Before Returning to the Classroom

Posted by Laura Perillo on Aug 19, 2020 1:34:06 PM

The COVID-19 pandemic has introduced countless changes since March. Absent of a vaccine, and with the start of the school year just weeks away, parents everywhere are wrestling with the fact that the return to the classroom is going to look very different this fall.

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Topics: education, students, student advice, social and emotional learning, mental health, Coronavirus, COVID-19

Tips for Working at Home with Kids During Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted by Kimberly Connolly on Mar 27, 2020 11:00:00 AM

It’s no secret parents are dealing with a lot at home throughout this COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, which shutdown schools across the country — and the globe — for an undefined amount of time. If you're like me, you're at home helping to facilitate distance learning for your multiple elementary-aged children and toddlers while working your own job from home. You're juggling parenting, working, helping with online learning and trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy in your home. Oh yeah, and you're trying to remember to shower.

As an educator and a parent, it gives me a unique perspective on this at-home time and what it can and should mean for families, that I felt it important to share some lessons learned to help you navigate these unsettling times and be the heroes of your own household.

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Topics: parenting, social and emotional learning, tips, Coronavirus, family

How to Help a Grieving Child

Posted by Adriana B. Dunn, Ph.D. & Laura K. Palmer, Ph.D. on May 6, 2019 11:00:00 AM

As parents and educators, our focus is to protect children, to shield them from distress and to create environments that foster their growth and development. While we usually manage to navigate the day-to-day situations and stressors that children face without too much difficulty, we are often at loss when faced with having to talk to children about death. How much do we tell them? Will they be able to understand? Will they get too upset? What if they show no emotion? When do we seek outside support?

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Topics: parenting, student advice, wellness, social and emotional learning, building confidence, mental health

Benefits of Parent-Teacher Relationships

Posted by Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child on Feb 21, 2019 10:48:24 AM

With increasing pressures and challenges on students today, it’s important that schools and parents forge a bond to become partners in education. This partnership includes regular, open communication between home and school; a respectful climate where everyone feels safe; and active parent involvement in school community activities.

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Topics: education, parenting, social and emotional learning

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