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Westchester Today April Activities

Resilience and Grit

Alumni vs. Varsity Girls Soccer and WAPA Family Movie Night Friday, April 26, beginning at 6:00 p.m. Come cheer on the Wildcats in a friendly girls soccer game and stay for a showing of The Greatest Showman on Kennedy Field. Everyone welcome!

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How do we build resilience and grit in our children and teens? This is a question that has been asked many times by parents, teachers, administrators, college professors, and pretty much anyone who works with young people today. I have had the opportunity to attend several conferences over the past few years, and resilience has certainly been a topic of discussion in a variety of ways from keynote speakers to breakout sessions. It’s important for our children to be able to “bounce back” when things go wrong.

April 2019

By Heather Singer, School Counselor

This topic of resilience is so prevalent in education that in January ACT kicked off the first-ever Social and Emotional Learning Journey Program, which is an instrument that assesses students’ social and emotional learning (SEL) needs. Several schools in the nation participated in a pilot program and discovered five themes, with one being a need for developing student skills in the critical domains of resilience, including self-regulation, stress management and coping skills, conscientiousness, grit, goal-setting, and perseverance. We all know that in order for students to learn academically, they must be prepared socially and emotionally to learn, and the pilot program once again reiterated this concept. So, as parents, what can we do to help? I hope to provide a few tools you can use to help your children and teens build and develop the resilience, grit, and perseverance they need to be successful today, as well as in the future. Resilience in Lower Schoolers:

Spring Arts Fest Monday, April 29, beginning at 5:00 p.m. on the Cats’ Den courtyard Featuring: Lower School Spring Concerts Jamatron 6000 Arts Activities Food Vendors and more! Bring the whole family to enjoy the fun!

1. Help your child by having him or her help others. Children who feel helpless can be empowered by helping others. Engage your child in age-appropriate volunteer work or ask for assistance yourself with some task that he or she can master. 2. Maintain a daily routine. Sticking to a routine can be comforting to children, especially younger children who crave structure in their lives. Encourage your child to develop his or her own routines. 3. Take a break. While it is important to stick to routines, endlessly worrying can be counterproductive. Teach your child how to focus on something besides what’s worrying him or her. Be aware of what your child is exposed to that can be troubling, whether it be news, the Continued on page 3


Westchester Today

STEM Family Night STEM Family Night was a great success showcasing our work in science, technology, engineering, and math through all divisions.

April 2019 2

Links and Announcements > Campus Calendar > Arts Calendar > Athletics Calendar > Headlines

Meet Your Wildcats Name: Claire Brinson

Title: Lower and Middle School Spanish Teacher

> Lunch Menu

Family: Husband, Jay; sons, Thomas (6th grade) and Joseph (4th grade)

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What was your favorite subject in school? It’s easier to say my least favorites - science and math

Items of Note Big Cat/Lil’ Cat Little Cats are invited to hit the links with the Big Cats on Friday, April 26, from 1:30-4:30 p.m. at Emerywood Golf Course! $40 per golfer includes golf, food, prizes, and more! >Click here for information and to sign up. W-Day 5k Save the date of Saturday, May 11, for the fastest day at Westchester! The 15th annual 5k gets under way at 8:00 a.m. with a 1-Mile Fun Run. >Click here to register today! Wildcat Summer Camps Sign up soon for Wildcat Summer camps! Check the > Summer Camps link on the website for all the dates and rates!

What book are you reading? Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty Name of the last movie you watched: Fighting with My Family Favorite Restaurant: 1618 Dream Vacation: I’m going to Mexico for spring break, which seems pretty dreamy to me! I have always wanted to travel to Greece. Something most people don’t know about you: I didn’t know anyone in North Carolina when I moved to Greensboro in 2000 for my first job out of college. Favorite thing about Westchester: The love, grace, example, discipline, and knowledge that the faculty and staff give my boys each day. Thank you so much! Jay and I are so grateful that our family has the opportunity to be part of this community.


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4. Move toward your goals. Teach your child to set reasonable goals and then to move toward them one step at a time. Moving toward that goal - even if it’s a tiny step - and receiving praise for doing so will focus your child on what he or she has accomplished rather than on what hasn’t been accomplished and can help build the resilience to move forward in the face of challenges.

6. Let your child stumble. The old saying “If you aren’t uncomfortable, you aren’t learning” certainly rings true with resilience. If your child forgets a snack or homework at home, don’t bring it to school. Not coming to the rescue requires your child to formulate a strategy for ensuring the mistake doesn’t happen again, and children build grit and resilience by dealing with adversity. * Resilience in Middle Schoolers: 1. Reinforce empathy and help your child keep perspective. When your child is a victim of the shifting social alliances that form in Middle School, help him or her understand that other children may be feeling just as lonely and confused, and help your child see beyond the current situation; alliances that shift one way may shift back again the next week in Middle School. 2. Talk with your child about your own feelings during times of extraordinary stress such as the death of a loved one. Your children probably are old enough to appreciate some gray areas in your own feelings, but you should leave no room for doubt when you talk about how you will do whatever it takes to keep them safe. If your family does not have a plan in place for emergencies, make one and share it with your child so he or she knows that there are decisive actions that can be taken in an emergency. 3. Enlist your child’s help, whether it’s a chore or an opinion about a family activity. Include your child in any volunteer activity you do. Make sure your child knows how his or her actions contribute to the entire family’s well-being. If your child knows that he or she has a role to play and that they can help, they will feel more in control and more confident. 4. Let your child stumble. The old saying “If you aren’t uncomfortable, you aren’t learning” certainly rings true with resilience. If your child forgets a snack or homework at home, don’t bring it to school. Not coming to the rescue requires your child to formulate a strategy for ensuring the mistake doesn’t happen again, and children build grit and resilience by dealing with adversity. *

Although your teens may tower over you, they still are very young and can feel keenly the fear and uncertainty of both the normal stresses of being a teen as well as events in the world around them. Emotions may be volatile and close to the surface during the teen years, and finding the best way to connect to your teen can be difficult. 1. Talk with your teens whenever you can, even if it seems they don’t want to talk to you. Sometimes the best time to talk may be when you are in the car together; sometimes it may be when you are doing chores together, allowing your teens to focus on something else while they talk. When your teens have questions, answer them honestly but with reassurance. Ask them their opinion about what is happening and listen to their answers. 2. Make your home a safe place emotionally for your teens. In high school, your home should be a haven, especially as your teen encounters more freedoms and choices and looks to home to be a constant in his or her life. Your children may prefer to be with their friends rather than spend time with you, but be ready to provide lots of family time for them when they need it, and set aside family time that includes their friends. 3. When stressful things are happening in the world at large, encourage your teen to take “news breaks,” whether he or she is getting that news from the television, magazines or newspapers, or the Internet. Use the news as a catalyst for discussion. Teens may act like they feel immortal, but at bottom they still want to know that they will be alright, and honest discussions of your fears and expectations can help your Upper Schooler learn to express his or her own fears. If your teen struggles with words, encourage him or her to use journaling or art to express emotions. 4. Many teens are already feeling extreme highs and lows because of hormonal levels in their bodies; added stress or trauma can make these shifts seem more extreme. Be understanding but firm when teens respond to stress with angry or sullen behavior. Reassure them that you just expect them to do their best. This information was taken from the American Psychological Association, raising children.net, yourteenmag.com, act.org, and Tammy Finch, creator of SkillSense. *Applies to Lower and Middle School-aged children

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5. Nurture a positive self-view. Help your child remember ways that he or she has handled hardships successfully in the past and then help your child understand that these past challenges help build strength to handle future challenges. Help your child learn to trust himself or herself to solve problems and make appropriate decisions. Teach your child to see the humor in life and nuture the ability to laugh at one’s self.

Resilience in Upper Schoolers:

April 2019

Internet, or overheard conversations, and make sure your child takes a break from those things if they trouble him or her.

Westchester Today


Westchester Today April 2019 4

Competition Season

WCDS Elementary Battle of the Books (clockwise, from top left), Division III Odyssey of the Mind, Middle School Battle of the Books, and Middle School Robotics teams have been busy at competitions this spring, and many are moving on to the next round! Be sure to follow us on social media for day-to-day updates on school happenings!

Westchester Country Day is a college preparatory school that seeks to educate each child toward moral, academic, artistic, and athletic excellence in a nurturing, family environment where students, teachers, and parents support one another. By respecting the student and honoring learning, Westchester aims to cultivate informed citizens who are ready for a rapidly changing world and to graduate students who view the pursuit and wise use of knowledge as a lifelong joy.

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