Oct 01
A Safe, Caring and Welcoming Environment

Creating a safe, caring and welcoming environment is a priority at Grant MacEwan School. Our staff are focused on creating a safe environment at school as well as to and from school. There have been numerous safety concerns being observed by staff and other community members during drop off of students in the morning and picking them up after school.

The City of Calgary Police and Parking Authority have been monitoring our school for safety and have expressed some concerns. The most concerning issue is students crossing the street between parked cars without using the crosswalk. Vehicles driving on the street cannot see our students crossing between parked cars. The possibility of a serious injury by being hit by a car is very concerning for all of us.

What parents can do to keep our students safe

Children learn through modelling. We model the rules of the playground, the rules of the classroom and the rules of the road. Children are keen observers. They learn from each other and all adults. It is important that we model the behaviour that we want to see in our children. If we want kindness, we need to model kindness. If we want children to play well with others, we need to model that with the adults around us. If we want them to be safe on the road we need to model using the cross walks and parking in safe areas, as well as getting out on the sidewalk side of the car.

We talk about expected and unexpected behaviour to help children realize what they are doing and how they are staying safe.

Here are some tips to avoid rushing in the morning

Dr. Charles Fay, one of the founders of the Love and Logic group provided some great tips on getting your child up and moving in the morning. Setting up routines for going to bed and getting up in the morning create a predictable pattern for your child. This helps everyone feel calmer and gets us out of the house in a relaxed state.

“Schedule some time to plan and practice when you aren’t in a hurry

This means taking the time to show your kids how to use an alarm clock and how to collect what they need the night before. You can also give them ideas for making their own breakfasts as well as tips on creating lists as prompts or reminders.

Each morning, take yourself out of the loop as much as possible

The more that you are the one working to ensure that they get ready, the less likely they will learn to get ready on by themselves.

Place almost all your emphasis on getting yourself ready

As we all know, modeling is a great teacher. You shouldn’t feel guilty placing about 98% of your energy on meeting your needs. Besides, you’ve already taught them how to meet theirs—now show them how your meet yours.

Pray for opportunities

If you approach mornings this way, your kids will have special learning opportunities: (1) they will learn that the sky will not fall if they end up going to school looking mismatched and disheveled, and (2) they will learn to take responsibility by making affordable mistakes, such as forgetting their homework.

Create a covert back-up plan

In some cases, parents find it wise to have someone secretly on call. If the kids miss the bus, this back-up adult can arrive and charge the kids for taxi service to school.”

Attendance is very important. When children miss school, come late, or leave early, they miss valuable instruction and work time. In addition, when students are away, they lose connections with their classmates and they can fall behind in their learning activities, which can lead to anxiety and a lack of engagement for the student.

Over the past two months as part of our Well-Being and Perseverance Goals at Grant MacEwan School, we have been sharing stories of how the buffalo surround their young and face forward into the storm. By walking towards and through the storm, the buffalo get through the storm faster. We are connecting this learning to our ways of being at Grant MacEwan School, to encourage and give strategies to our students to face learning challenges head on with the support from adults in the school. 

How can we face our storms?

One example of this learning that you can help at home is around reducing your child’s feelings of stress or anxiety at school. Anxiety gets harder to face when we avoid the things that cause anxiety. By talking to our children and about what is bothering them at school and then reassuring them that everyone has these feelings and sometimes you need to ask an adult for support. One question we ask children is how big is the problem? This will get your child talking and will open up opportunities to support your child to work through the problem.

Don’t solve the problem for your children…help them come up with solutions to the problem so that they can gain confidence by being able to handle difficult situations. Please talk about this as a family and ask your child about what may be a storm for them and what they can do to help themselves through that storm.


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