Westgate was excited to host author Amy Logan who shared how each student can be a superhero by spreading kindness every day! Students wore capes to celebrate the visit, and Ms. Logan shared her story, "A Girl With A Cape," with the whole school. Most people don't see the effect of all their kind acts, which can lead to disappointment and a sense of futility. Ms. Logan's book explores how even the smallest kind acts make a huge difference in the world - even though we might not know it. Now is a great time, on the heels of this assembly, to talk to your children about showing kindness every day - every kid can be a superhero!!! To get a copy of the book, find resources to use at home, and to learn how to get a personal letter from the author, visit www.rockthecape.com!
Watch this very cool video of some Westgate leaders teaching the school the hand signals for the 7 Habits on the morning announcements: http://vimeo.com/108619802.
For some households, a pet is another member of the family. When that pet dies, this can lead to real grief for your child. Children's understanding of death depends on their developmental stage, so it can be helpful to have some understanding of that as you help your child deal with their grief over a lost pet. KidsHealth.org has a great article, When a Pet Dies, that provides practical advice for helping kids of different age and maturity levels.
If your child is having a very difficult time handling the death of a pet, let their teacher know. This will help them be especially sensitive to your child's feelings at such a difficult time. In addition, if you think they could benefit from talking to the social worker, feel free to give us a call and request we meet with your child once or twice. We can do such things as sharing happy memories about their animal friend, drawing pictures to help remember their pet, or just letting them have a moment to cry when the shock is still particularly fresh.
Children deal with grief differently, depending on personality and age. It is important to understand your child's developmental understanding of death when helping them grieve. KidsHealth.org's article, Helping Your Child Deal With Death provides some background on developmental understandings of death and how to approach it with your child. It is always important to create an a safe environment for children to ask any questions and feel any feelings (some of them might surprise you). There is no right or wrong way for a child to handle the death of a loved one, and you as the adult will not have all the answers. You will certainly need help along the way. Willow House is an example of one organization in the area that provides services to help children and families deal with grief. You will also need assistance from your school community, and the staff at Westgate is here to help.
It is always a good idea to inform your child's teacher of the death so they can be particularly sensitive to your child's unique needs at such a difficult time. In addition, we recommend talking to one of the social workers at Westgate, as we can provide resources in the area and meet with your child to help them process their feelings.
Annie MacDowell and Jeff Pawelski are the Social Workers at Westgate Elementary. Miss Mac is the School Social Worker and Mr. Pawelski is the Integrated Services Social Worker.