November 15, 2018
Here at ESU 10, we want kids to reach their potential and develop skills to thrive in school and in life. This year, students and staff will be participating in National School Psychology Awareness Week, November 12-16, 2018, the theme of which is “Unlock Potential. Find Your Password!” The theme emphasizes how we can each find our own “password,” or personal key for unlocking any number of challenges and opportunities in our lives to help us thrive. Our goal is to highlight how identifying strength word can assist students in unlocking resources, reaching potential, and developing proactive or preventative skills to thrive in school and life. The idea is that a “password” can help us set goals to help create critical academic and social-emotional skills. Words such as “imagine,” “encourage,” “learn,” “connect,” and “contribute” are examples of passwords that can push us forward in developing those critical skills.
Unlocking potential can take many forms. It can mean taking action to speak up when bullying occurs, engaging in learning, trying a new activity or skill, cleaning up trash on the playground, doing something kind for a classmate or neighbor, or making new friends. These actions empower children, create compassion, strengthen connections, and build resiliency—all traits that are critical for academic and social–emotional success. Unlocking potential to grow as an individual and to make the world even a little bit better can have a long lasting impact.
Unlock Potential at Home
There are many ways families can help children take action to make positive changes. As parents and caregivers, you can:
1. Talk to your kids about passwords to help them unlock potential—key words or phrases to help them take steps toward positive change. Password ideas include: dream, laugh, connect, imagine, create, encourage, share, listen, help, explore, try, speak up.
2. Help your children develop positive relationships with peers and adults, and model respectful, caring behaviors with others.
3. Help your children identify their strengths and interests, learn new skills. Emphasize that learning and growing require trying new things and that success comes from small steps to a long-term goal.
4. Encourage goal setting and mapping out a plan for achieving the goals. Talk with your children about steps they have taken, what worked and what didn’t, and what they might do next.
5. Praise attempts, as well as success, and make sure that you focus on the effort or hard work put into the success. Emphasize the importance of deliberate practice that talent is developed over time through skillful practice.
6. Create an environment at home that allows your children to explore building (playing with blocks, helping with projects, and more), drawing (crayons, finger paints, paper), and music (on the radio, with children’s instruments, or through formal training through school or community resources). This may help to identify special interests.
7. Help your child work through setbacks, or lack of self-confidence, by helping to identify negative thoughts that may suggest concerns about his or her ability to be successful. As a parent, you can help children see what the small steps are and how persisting and overcoming obstacles is a part of succeeding. Help your child realize that setbacks are not permanent or all-encompassing.
8. Seek out support systems available in the community to help your children learn new skills and thrive, such as tutoring or mentoring programs. Encourage your children to participate in community activities that may help them to develop positive behaviors, such as being grateful. In particular, volunteer activities may encourage the development of positive behaviors. Consider participating in community events yourself as a role model.
9. Encourage your children to participate in school and community activities that may help them to develop positive behaviors, such as being grateful. In particular, volunteer activities may encourage the development of positive behaviors. Consider participating in community and school events yourself as role a model.
Let’s Work Together
The school psychologists at ESU 10 look forward to working with families in our community to encourage all of our children, whether at home or at school, to unlock their potential and find their passwords.
About School Psychologists
School psychologists are members of school staff who support students’ ability to learn and teachers’ ability to teach. School psychologists apply expertise in mental health, learning, and behavior to help children and youth succeed academically, socially, behaviorally, and emotionally by providing direct support to students, such as individualized learning and behavioral assessments to identify students’ strengths and needs, academic and behavioral interventions, counseling, and social skills training. We also consult with teachers, families, and other educators to improve support strategies and school-wide practices and policies. We are in a unique position to ensure students’ success every day, including both small and big accomplishments. More information is available at www.nasponline.org
-by Carter Blauvelt, ESU 10 School Psychologist