Elementary Principal Letter
Dear ANCS Elementary Families,
Our guiding principle focus this week is: We resolve conflicts in a peaceful, thoughtful, and meaningful way. When we talk with our students about this guiding principle, we tell them that conflict is a natural part of life; it is how you handle it that makes the difference. We encourage them to take a breadth to relax, get into their executive state and then use their assertive voice to try to solve the problem. For example, we encourage students to say, “I don’t like it when you push me in line. Next time use your words and ask me to move,” as opposed to pushing the other student back or yelling at him/her. Of course, an adult is here to support students with developing their assertive voice and managing the conflict in a productive manner.
We have been implementing Conscious Discipline at the elementary campus for the past 12 years. Conscious Discipline is a comprehensive social and emotional intelligence classroom management program that strives to empower both teachers and students (and parents). This program is embedded in everything we do at school; there are no separate artificial lessons. It starts with the adults’ attitudes and behaviors and then, over time, becomes natural for the children as it is modeled each day. The goal of the program is to teach students seven basic social skills: anger management, helpfulness, assertiveness, impulse control, cooperation, empathy, and problem solving. These skills are taught through composure, encouragement, assertiveness, choices, positive intent, empathy, and consequences.
One part of Conscious Discipline that often gets overlooked is the structure that is the very foundation of the program. The brain is pattern seeking and we must provide consistency with routines and expectations for our children to find the patterns and thrive. By being clear with our expectations and holding our students accountable to them, we create a safe environment in which children feel supported and free to take learning risks. Mistakes with academics and behaviors are opportunities to learn, and consequences delivered with empathy teach children cause and effect relationships and to be responsible for their actions. Consequences rely on reflection, as opposed to punishment and rewards that rely on judgment.
There is no easy answer when it comes to discipline. This is hard work that takes a lot of patience, time and mindfulness. We are all still learning and would love for you to be on our journey with us. We are hoping to offer more support for you this year, so please be on the lookout for opportunities to connect with us to learn more about this program. In the meantime, you can visit consciousdiscipline.com if you are interested in learning more about Conscious Discipline and the resources that are available to you. We also have some resources for parents and guardians to check out in our media center.
As always, I am happy to discuss any questions or concerns you may have. Have a wonderful remainder of your week and thank you for your continued support of ANCS.
I wish you well,