This week we had a discussion with staff on the topic of what we say to children matters. Carole Dweck highlighted the importance of using the expression of “not yet,” when considering achievement and working towards goals. From this our P1 children create their own versions of the abominable snowman called the Burnside “Yeti.” This reinforces the idea that learning is a journey and we shared this idea with parents through displays at our recent P1 open morning.
The discussion started and ended by looking at an image which said “Be mindful of how we talk to children as this becomes their inner voice.” What a really powerful sentiment that is…we all know the wee Jiminy Cricket voice is so important to helping us get through each day…..
As a newish parent myself, with two girls under the age of five, as parents we are aware of how important words are….sometimes we get it right more often than not we don’t …
My five year olds favourite expression this month is “This is ridikulus,” before storming upstairs to sit on her bed in a huff and my three year old is often heard saying “Daddy, calm down …calm down,” last month it was “Daddy you are still my love,” to give me much needed reassurance. We all need this reassurance. We need to be grounded so we can connect with others….even if the words of wisdom are coming from a three year old.
Imitation is more powerful than instruction as they say …so that says a lot about the chaotic nature of my own household and my own sabre tooth tiger moments. As a leader and a Dad I am definitely a work in progress.
In school we talked about a language of wellbeing around phrases which may help keep children calm and in their teddy bear system. We often talk about a language of learning in schools and we believe the language of wellbeing must give this type of thinking equal footing ….
We are using a phrase across the whole school, across every staff member in every part of the school ….whenever we see a child who needs support or reassurance to stay grounded and calm.
We are going to share this with you so we can all construct a language which supports parents too. We talked about the importance of “connection before correction” which will be our focus at Burnside. The idea is to look beyond the behaviour which we “see” and think about ways to connect…always.
Our primary focus is to bring the child back to a teddy bear state as safely and effectively as possible and often words are a powerful support.
Our first phrase we will use is “I am here, you are safe.”
Across the country perhaps we could try this in other schools and feedback on your successes in the next few weeks or months? We will continue to use this phrase consistently through to the end of January before we introduce another. We already have 12 others which have been created with wellbeing in mind. The idea here is a little and often.
We hope you support us with this idea and we all continue to build our capacity as parents, educators and human beings to be a little more human in moments of anxiety for the children we all care for …
Have a great week and remember “I am here, you are safe.”