At Parkway School Mr. Sweeney’s Kindergartners Practice Caring for Self and Others

At Parkway School students in Patrick Sweeney’s kindergarten class recently enjoyed “I am Here To Save The Day,” which is one of the district’s series of norm events.

Mr. Sweeney modeled examples of caring for self and others and had the students give examples from their daily lives.

The students really got into the lesson, which felt more like play. Along the way, they talked about not staying mad and not being physical, but rather using words, letting go and moving on.

Mr. Sweeney asked the students  for examples of how they help others and asked how it made them feel.

“It made me feel calm,” one student said.

“It made me feel happy,” another said.

Not all the students know how to tie their shoelaces yet, so Mr. Sweeney had them divide into two groups – those who can tie laces and those still learning.

The students said helping others with their laces felt good, and others said getting help felt equally good.

Dr. Alina Boie, a school psychologist with Greenwich Schools, said the idea was to promote self-care, compassion, self-advocacy and empathy.

“This school year we decided to use the super hero theme to inspire and engage students,” she said. “We believe every student is a super hero with extraordinary gifts that can create change.”

Ms. Boie said that being kind to others, being compassionate and being helpful are all “superpowers” that have the potential to change communities and even the world.

Ms. Boie said parents and teachers, along with students, are using the norms at Parkway School and at home, which reinforces the lessons.

The 2018-2019 school year marks the sixth year of events celebrating the District Norms: Be Here, Be Safe, Be Honest, Care for Self and Others, Let Go and Move On. The idea is to promote a safe school climate by fostering social-emotional skills in our students and reinforcing the District Norms.

Using lesson plans developed by mental health professionals and teachers, schools across the District will participate in these Social Emotional Learning activities. In recent years, the program expanded into the community with the support of a grant from the Greenwich Alliance for Education.