Oh my goodness, my social media feeds are being bombarded with pithy sayings, mindfulness prompts, quotes about being a better person, quotes about living through the pandemic. I started getting these early in lockdown and it has just snowballed. Now the sayings and prompts are about taking forward what we learnt in lockdown. I have become rather immune to them, I am very much at the ‘yeah right, ok’ stage!
However, I received one this morning which made me think about how we get children to stop thinking negatively about themselves or their abilities. It was from the meditation app Calm:
Step off the train of addictive thoughts. Remind yourself that just because you have a thought, it doesn’t mean you have to follow it.
I am sure that at some stage you, like me, has had a negative thought about ourselves or something we have done. You know your inner voice says; oh why did I say that, they must have thought I was an idiot, oh no, they will tell others and others will think I am stupid….. you get my meaning. I would hazard a guess that the majority of our children have these sorts of thoughts. Their inner voice telling them; I’m not good at maths, I am useless at sport, nobody likes me, I am never going to have friends, I can’t draw, I’m the worst at…
Certainly, we teachers hear this from children. We know that it is pointless telling the child, “no you’re not, you’re amazing/good at it”. They hear it but don’t relate to an answer like that. As another quote I read said; resist the temptation to linger in the quicksand of past mistakes. This is what the child is doing, taking past errors or incidents and following these thoughts.
So, what can we do? You may have heard your child talk about being in the pit. We use this concept to celebrate trying and failing as an important part of learning. When you’re in the pit, you have hit rock bottom, your head is filled with negative thoughts about your ability to succeed. We encourage children to keep trying, to practise, to accept that this is just a stage. They are not dumb, or stupid, or are never going to be any good. We tell them that they just haven’t mastered it, yet, with the emphasis on ‘yet’. We are the hand reaching down into the pit, offering help and encouragement. We don’t try to make it better for the child by telling them answers, or doing the task for them. We encourage, teach, guide them so they can start to climb out of the pit. They pretty much always climb out of the pit. Their joy at mastering the task, finding an answer, learning the skill is the catalyst for turning off the negative thoughts or self talk. They stop following the negative thinking path.
So anytime you hear your child wallow in negative thoughts or claim they are NEVER going to be any good at something, remind them that they are in the pit and ask what you can help them with to start to climb out of the pit. Tell them they just haven’t mastered it YET. Encourage, guide, teach skills, practise with them. Don’t do it for them or allow them to give up as this reinforces their negative thoughts, but be the hand that reaches into the pit to help them.
Thank you to all our lovely parents for putting on delicious morning teas for our staff. We are overwhelmed by your kindness and generosity in doing this when you all have busy lives. We feel very lucky to be in this community.
We are so delighted to be able to resume having full school assemblies. We have reviewed the assembly schedule so that every class will have an assembly item by the end of the year. Room 3 are first up tomorrow.
School Uniform / Sports Uniform
While we are short of spaces for children to change into their PE gear, just for the remainder of this term, children are allowed to wear their PE uniform to school on the days they have PE and sports.
The builders have been working flat out to make up for the time lost during lockdown. The work is still on track to be completed mid August.
We missed the term 1 parent interviews due to lockdown. Just a heads up that these are going to be held on 29, 30 July. This time, they will be parent – teacher interviews with your child present if you wish. It is not a three-way conference as we would normally have at this time of year because we think it is important that parents have a chance to share information about their child as would usually happen in term 1. Note that school will finish at 2pm on 29 July.