Monday, February 9, 2015

What a Difference a Year (and a School) Makes

As I've said before, Kailey is having a great school year.  The troubles from last year seem far away.  And, honestly, it's not that Kailey is a totally different person.  Yes, she's learned a lot about how to manage her frustration.  But, she still gets frustrated.  In fact, I did hear about an incident at school where she poked another kid in the ribs.  She got in trouble for it and had to sit out of recess for a little bit.  More importantly, it was used not as an opportunity to shame her but to talk about her feelings, how to handle frustration, and she was recognized for positive behavior later that very same day.  Addressing the negative, rewarding the positive and helping kids make good choices... isn't that what it's all about?

Other than the one poke, I think Kailey doesn't resort to physical aggression anymore (thank goodness!)  Although, she does find more sophisticated ways of dealing with her frustration at others.  For example, she started a school wide spy club to spy on another girl that was being mean to her.  Spying is better than hitting -- but, not much.  So, we spent a long time talking about that one -- how it's not nice to single out others, how she would feel if others spied on her, and how even when someone hurts your feelings she has to figure out how to talk it out and resolve it rather than retaliating.  We also talked to the other parents, who we've become friends with.  And we talked to her teacher and the after school coordinator.  Which I guess shows that we are more on top of things this year, too.

Despite a few missteps, Kailey has had very few issues at school.  In fact, this last week, she was recognized at the school wide assembly for her conflict resolution skills.  Her teacher recognized her and one other girl (the girl, in fact, that Kai had the brief run-in with that prompted the spy club).  She said that they both excelled at resolving conflicts in a positive manner and using "velvet" words (words that make you feel good) as opposed to "sandpaper" words (words that are rough). 

I felt like sending Mr. Thompson an email letting him know that Kai was getting an award in conflict resolution . But, I didn't.  Mostly, I was just proud at how far she's come and how hard she's working.  And, also, so very happy we are at a school that lets kids shine and be celebrated despite the occasional misstep.

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