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Parent Resources PDHP Parents

Seeds and Plants Activity 1

Dear Parents,

It’s Spring! This is the time to enjoy all the beauty that’s popping out all around us. As I look out my window, I see buds on trees, and some already have leaves. But how did they get there? How did it all happen?

This week’s blog is all about seeds & plants. There is something very rewarding in planting seeds and caring for plants. Not only can we learn about how plants grow…we can grow an appreciation for them together!

Janet Heed

District Superintendent

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Coronavirus News and Information Parent Resources PDHP Parents Updates

Statement Regarding Remainder of School Year

Dr. Thomas Chadzutko, Superintendent of Schools for the Diocese of Brooklyn, which includes all elementary Catholic academies and schools in Brooklyn and Queens, has issued the following statement following Governor Cuomo’s school closure announcement:

“We just learned of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s decision that all elementary and secondary schools shall remain closed for the duration of the current 2019-2020 school year, as New York continues efforts to prevent the spread of Coronavirus. As such, the Catholic academies and parish schools within the Diocese of Brooklyn, which includes Queens, will remain closed through the end of June. The distance and digital learning platforms in place will serve as the instructional program for our schools for the remainder of this academic year.

I am very proud of our schools and academies, who were successfully able to transition to a distance and digital learning platform almost immediately upon our school buildings being shut down. This would not have been possible without the hard work of our teachers and the leadership of our dedicated principals, who rose to this enormous challenge. Our Catholic schools and academies have continued to provide each of our students with a faith-based academic program, ensuring that they are being challenged to learn every day. Our parents have also contributed immeasurably to the success of this new digital learning environment.

We will be working with our principals and teachers to ensure that our milestone celebrations (graduations, step-up ceremonies, and other achievements) will be honored and recognized. As we have done so far during this pandemic, we will continue to assemble and share resources for our families as we confront this challenging end to the school year.

The Coronavirus statistics indicate that both Brooklyn and Queens have been the hardest-hit areas in New York City and State. As a Catholic school community in the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to pray for everyone’s health and safety. Our faith, love, and hope remain central to all we do now and in the future.”

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Coronavirus News and Information Parent Resources PDHP Parents

OLMCA: We Can Get Through This!

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Coronavirus News and Information Parent Resources PDHP Parents

…And the Award Goes To…

holding coffee mug

Simon Holland, a dad in quarantine recently tweeted, “So we don’t go to restaurants, kids aren’t signed up for anything, and we are just staying home during spring break? Sounds like my childhood.”

 This made me think of a conversation that a close friend and I had a while ago about what weekends were like when we were growing up.  “We did what the adults did.  Plain and simple, we went with mom and dad.  We ran errands, went to shops, ran into neighbors, saw extended family and friends.  Maybe we had a friend over or went to call for a friend on the block or played outside, but we followed the adult’s lead.  Now, it seems parents follow what the kids do…plays, sports, activities all rule the family weekend.”  Adrienne is right. 

With what Simon and Adrienne have both pointed out, are we still following our children’s lead?  Are we still living with the dis-ease of busyness with a side order of a culture of complaint?  Many of us wear that as a badge, pridefully boasting of all the things we have to do…between the lines rolling our eyes with of all these constraints.  Are we jumping hoops trying to be parent/teacher/artist/philanthropist/baker/chef/IT support/coach/quarantine specialist of the year?  Sorry, there is no award. 

While yes, our children need guidance and supervision, can we allow them unstructured time?  Quiet time?  Playing on their own, doing a puzzle, reading in their room?  Where is the time to just be and perhaps be – uh oh – you guessed it – a little bit bored for the moment?  Why boredom?  It is in this quiet time, quiet place, the safety of the home you have already put in place that a child can process, can work out thoughts on their own, can imagine, can build capacity, can relax mentally, can manage anxieties.  Or are we filling every moment like a cruise director?  When did it go from fun to a list of have-to’s?

And how about you, exhausted mom, overwhelmed dad, ever-present grandparent?  What are you doing for yourself?  Have you taken the time to sit and enjoy watching an episode of a favorite show?  Stepped away to speak to a close friend?  Sat quietly at the window?  Have you and felt guilty or were made to feel guilty by others in your home?

Try it – fifteen minutes even – for quiet time or time to self for each one.  While there is, again, no award, you may see the reward eventually.   Eyes on the prize, fam!

Categories
Parent Resources PDHP Parents

Animal Day Activity 2

Dear Parents,

This week we go on safari!
We hope that this week’s animal activities give you and your family a chance to escape into the wonderful world of animals, and maybe learn some new fun facts on the way.

Janet Heed

District Superintendent

Categories
Parent Resources PDHP Parents

Animal Day Activity 1

Dear Parents,

This week we go on safari!
We hope that this week’s animal activities give you and your family a chance to escape into the wonderful world of animals, and maybe learn some new fun facts on the way.

Janet Heed

District Superintendent

Categories
Coronavirus Parent Resources PDHP Parents Updates

Parents & The Brain II

parent and child bond

By Cary Anne Fitzgerald. PDHP Parent & Community Outreach Coordinator

When stress occurs, we know we react to these messages our brains supply…now the brain is great but it simply cannot discern between a full-on attack of some sort and the tone of a text received.  It cannot tell us if the information is positive or negative – think excitement over a party versus a test in class.  So, it does what the brain will do- protect.  Messages flow throughout our bodies, activating different functions.  We often know these – I feel tense, my stomach hurts, I am chronically stressed and so I suffer from….  But do we realize what happens to our brain?  The alert has sounded, the ability to reason has gone and our instinct to fight or flight arises.  We tune out when in stress or we turn up.  This may very well illustrate daily communication in our homes during this crisis.  Our brains are in survival mode potentially on a 24/7 basis now. 

Regardless of what stage our children are at, we can influence our child’s brains very positively.  In a recent training, an instructor offered the concept of “mirrored neurons”.  From very young ages, our children replicate what they see – positive and negative.  Children learn to model things the adult does.  In a classroom setting, I would often talk out steps of a lesson or strategy as if I were student.  While it would seem redundant to some, for these children it became learning.  As they grow, we often give them a laundry list of do’s and don’ts but are we abiding by these do’s or don’ts ourselves?  “Do as I say not do as I do”.  Many parents share that they are uncomfortable with “difficult” topics and as our children age, there is bound to be increasing conflict of some sort as it is part of the process. 

Now, we are in a difficult phase of existence.  How do we meet it?  Remember what we can control in this time – our basic, healthful needs.  How do we meet our children’s needs?  Mirror those neurons.  Who do you want to be in this challenging moment?  It is who do you want your child to be.  Be it, be patient, be gentle with yourself.  They will follow your lead. 

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Coronavirus Parent Resources PDHP Parents Updates

Parents and The Brain I

heart and brain connection

By Cary Anne Fitzgerald, PDHP Parent and Community Coordinator

In more recent years, the brain has fascinated me.  As I firmed up my teaching, I reached often to the cognitive processes my students had at their disposal and lined up my lesson plans and my objectives against them, aligning them with their developmental stages and watching them progress.  I even had action words listed in my planbook to assure all learning styles were addressed. 

In the parenting role, I often reflect on this “edu-speak” & how it may escape the radar of a parent who does not have a background in this field.  When we are in our workshops, we break it down together when necessary and I see that recognition come across – a glimmer in an eye, a steady nod, a thoughtful tilt of one’s posture, leaning in and reading as “go on, tell us more”.   Yes, us educators have this access.  But how can a parent use this knowledge?

We know that science is now telling us that brain development reaches its totality around or beyond age 25.  This makes me consider our average teenager who does not have a fully developed sense of reactivity, consequence and ethics.  Now, relate this to children younger and younger living digital lives – some react inappropriately, some post things without thinking of how far or how hard its message will go.  Knowing what is socially & emotionally typical in your child’s development throughout their lives is a great way to begin.  Noting that sometimes, these stages are not pleasant ones, but we can use these to our advantage to moderate this unpleasantness.  It often seems we are so aware of this up until age five and then there seems to be a lack of information.  It may feel overwhelming to add this in to all we do as parents, maybe its not what we grew up with and it is out of our comfort zone.  We may feel shame or guilt because it is something at which we are not adept.  What if we were to consider not the shame, but the gain.  The gain is a better understanding of our children, a stronger connection and a gift of skill.  This is a great time to seek out the professionals in our children’s lives.  Consider the teachers we have rapport with, the guidance counselor who attends to these concepts all the time or the pediatrician who is often checking in on these items.  Know that regardless of at what stage our children are, we can influence their brains very positively. 

For more parenting, follow Cary Anne at https://www.facebook.com/PDHPParents/