news and events
New Jersey has designated the first week of October as a “Week of Respect”. During this week at Bedwell, all students received age-appropriate instruction focusing on the prevention of harassment, intimidation, and bullying.
Our Week of Respect activities also included the creation of a bulletin board featuring every Bedwell student's self portrait! In addition, students received daily challenges encouraging them to get "caught in the act" of using kind words, doing nice things, and including others. All students were invited to create a Rachel's Challenge poster for our annual Week of Respect poster contest. In addition, students were invited to create a "Rachel's Challenge" poster, showing how we create a chain of good deeds at Bedwell.
Bedwell Spirit Week!Now in its eleventh year, our Rachel's Challenge anti-bullying initiative got off to a great start on September 20th when all Bedwell students were reminded of the importance of "using kind words, doing nice things, including others, and starting your own chain reaction" at our virtual character education kick-off assembly hosted by our school mascot, Character Ed. The Rachel's Challenge program provides a sustainable, evidence-based framework for creating a positive climate and culture in schools. We believe that implementation of Rachel's Challenge has resulted in a safer, more emotionally connected atmosphere at Bedwell, where kindness and respect prevail.
Rachel’s Challenge encourages students to start a chain reaction of compassion by acting with kindness, choosing positive influences, and looking for the best in others. Students who are caught in the act of demonstrating positive behavior receive a paper chain link describing their act. Their link gets deposited into a grade-level jar in the Bedwell lobby. Each Friday, one link (two on Spirit Days!) is drawn from each grade-level jar during the morning announcements. Those students receive a "Caught in the Act" bracelet and have their picture displayed on the front lobby bulletin board.
We also recognize a monthly “Chain Reaction Superhero”! Each month, the student caught in the act that most epitomizes the characteristics of “chain reaction behavior” will have her or his picture displayed on a dedicated bulletin board and will receive some special superhero bling! All of the chain links collected during the week will be stapled together to form a long chain of good deeds that will grow longer and longer and travel through the halls of Bedwell as the year progresses.
Sssh...don't tell the kids, but summer break is almost over! Whether your child is a returning Bedwell student or is coming to our school for the first time, starting the school year can be an enormous source of stress-for the whole family! Fortunately, most back-to-school butterflies can be eased by planning ahead and getting back into a school-night routine a few weeks before school begins. In addition to becoming readjusted to wearing a mask for an extended period of time, here are a few tips to make the summer to school transition and the whole year run smoother.
1. Get the whole family back on an early-to-bed schedule before school starts. Elementary school age kids do best with 9 1/2-11 hours of sleep a night. By keeping an eye on the calendar and moving bedtime a bit earlier every night, kids should be back on their school year sleeping schedule by the start of school. Getting enough sleep will make morning routines much easier!
2. Practice saying goodbye. For many kids, the biggest challenge about starting school will be saying goodbye to you. By developing a parting routine, such as a hug and a promise to see them soon, kids will feel reassured that starting school is just another temporary separation. Many kids feel comforted by having a family picture in their backpack or a special note in their lunchbox.
3. Have a few socially distanced outdoor play dates with new classmates. Once class lists have been sent home, it can be helpful to arrange play dates with kids who will be in your son's or daughter's class. The first day will go much smoother if your child already has already made some connections.
4. Start the day right. Many kids don't feel like eating much on the first day of school; however, your daughter or son will face the day better prepared if she or he has had a good breakfast. Ask them ahead of time what they'd like for breakfast on the first day, and be sure you have some of those favorite breakfast foods on hand.
5. Do your child (and yourself!) a favor by finding out what supplies will be needed on the first day, then making sure they're purchased and packed up the night before. While you're at it, have your child choose and lay out the clothes he or she will be wearing on the first day!
6. Help your child choose and equip a quiet study zone where homework will be done. Include your child in a discussion about when the best time to do homework might be and what the atmosphere should be like (most kids know that distractions such as electronics, siblings, etc., are not conducive to doing their best), and then help her or him establish and stick to a good routine.
7. You may be just as anxious as your child when it comes to the first day of school but try to conceal your worries. Emphasize the positive things about going back to school, such as hanging out with old friends, meeting new classmates, and getting involved in sports and other activities. Allow kids time to adjust. Remind them that everyone feels a little nervous about the first day of school and that it will all become an everyday routine in no time.
8. If your child gets teary when you say goodbye, reassure her or him that everything will be fine and that you can’t wait to be together again at the end of the day. Use the goodbye routine you’ve practiced, and then hand her or him off to her teacher and leave. Don't worry! Experienced teachers know about first day jitters and are used to helping kids overcome them. If your child continues to have a hard time separating, be sure to speak with the teacher.
Although it's normal to be anxious in any new situation, a few kids develop real physical symptoms, such as headaches or stomachaches, associated with the start of school. If you're concerned that your child's worries go beyond the normal back-to-school variety, speak with your child's doctor, teacher, or school counselor.
How to Prep Kids for a Potentially Bumpy Return to School
As students prepare to return to school this fall, concerns about safety, academic performance, and what toll a year without normal socialization has taken. This August 17th article in the NY Times offers solid advice on how to support your kids (and yourself!) and ensure a smooth re-entry to school for your child.
Karen Young is an Australian therapist who has an online resource called "Hey Sigmund". She offers timely, research-driven information with an emphasis on strengthening the mental wellness of children and adolescents. She often offers free webinars on timely topics. Worth checking out!
How to Support Kids' Return to School During COVID-19
Here we go again! Once again, parents are faced with uncertainty about how to prepare their kids for the upcoming year, especially since circumstances are rapidly changing in real time.
It’s okay to be realistic with your kids and tell them that you don’t know all of the answers yet, but once you know what the plan is for your child’s return to school, talk to her or him about what might be different. Kids feel reassured when they are aware of what plans are in place and what changes to expect. This moment is perfect to model how to use coping strategies and be flexible during times of uncertainty. Helping kids focus on the things they can control such as social distancing, hand washing, and the proper way to wear a mask can help reduce their stress and allow them to feel empowered. Practicing those skills before school starts will help them seem familiar when they need to use them at school.
Kids are resilient by nature, but parents can model that resilience too. Being flexible, adapting to change, and focusing on the positive are all important life skills to have, and COVID-19 is a great teaching moment for developing those skills. Parents can reassure their kids that if anything changes, the adults in their lives will work together as a team to come up with a new plan to keep them safe, learning, and connecting with other people. Below are some tips for helping kids ease into this new school routine.
Why Stressed Brains Can't Learn
More information about the importance of self care for kids! I'm attaching a link for a video from a website called Hey Sigmund which translates the latest research and news in psychology into actionable strategies. This particular video is all about the SEL component of learning and why stressed brains can't learn.
Good Grief Schools Webinars
Parenting is a stressful experience at the best of times, but a pandemic presents a new set of challenges as families spend more time together than ever before and feel a loss of control over their lives and their futures. The people at Good Grief have put together two webinars that address this uniquely challenging and stressful time. Resilience Through Mindfulness provides tools for teaching children to develop mindfulness, the simple practice of turning inward to pay attention to the present moment. Practicing Self-Kindness focuses on the needs of parents who often struggle with being able to prioritize taking care of themselves alongside taking care of the needs of their families. Please click on the titles to enjoy these excellent resources!
The Story of the Oyster and the Butterfly:
Bedwell Spirit Days
Wear Red & White
Crazy Hair Day
Team Jersey Day
Mis-Matched Clothes day
Crazy Socks Day
Hawaiian Shirt Day