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List of 3 news stories.

  • Gift Giving, Devices, and Kids

    Stacy Dillon and Celeste Dorsey
    Gift Giving, Devices, and Kids
     
    “It’s official. As of July 2018, more money has been spent on Gaming—in all its forms and formats—than any other kind of entertainment on the planet. It’s a massive industry worth almost 3 times as much as the movie industry”.   
    ~Liftoff - Mobile Gaming Apps Report 2018 User Acquisitions Trends and Benchmarks


    Dear Lower School Families,
     
    ‘Tis the season, and sure enough the tech industry and game developers are targeting children and adults alike with the latest and greatest devices and video games. Before you decide that now is the time to get your child the hottest device or the latest game, there are several things worth considering.
     
    Ask Questions:
    Start with WHY. Why are you thinking of purchasing a particular game or device? Is it because you’ve been told by your child that, “Everybody but me has one?” Have you been inundated with ads? Does your child have a genuine interest in the product or game?
     
    If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, below are a few best practices that we recommend regarding the use of technology with younger children.
     
    Age Recommendations:
    In terms of games, know that many come with age recommendations (just like movies and books). For instance, did you know that one of the most popular video game right now, Fortnite, comes with a rating of 12 years old and above? The purpose of this game is to collect and build, but also to shoot and attack with a variety of weapons. Because sound is important and the game is interactive, use of headsets means that parents will not always know what other players are saying during this virtual interactive game. These are but two factors among many that parents and caregivers should know.
     
    Reviews of Devices and Games:
    We understand that sometimes the sheer breadth of technology can make a parent feel completely overwhelmed. Maybe you’re not into technology, or are simply uninterested in the gaming world. The fact of the matter is, if your child is using it, you need to know about it. As is true with the literature your children read, the greater the familiarity with the content your child is consuming, the better equipped you are to guide your child in their engagement with that content. Thankfully, there are several sites that can help parents and caregivers decide if specific video games are right for their families. As parents ourselves, we rely heavily on Common Sense Media. This handy site reviews and sets age recommendations on a variety of media including video games, books, and movies. The British site Ask About Games is also a good resource and includes posts with titles like “Parents’ Guide: Roblox”, and “Parents Guide to Fortnite.”


    Set Limits:
    It’s important to set limits regarding devices and games before your child starts using them. Figure out what amount of time gaming or on devices works for your family. You can draft a family contract (include your own usage as well) and have your child agree to the terms of the contract before logging on. This way, if things do not go as planned, you have an agreement to reference when discussing your concerns with your child. As the games evolve, content changes, and the children change as well, expect to revisit your expectations periodically to ensure that your agreements remain relevant. Lastly, once you’ve agreed upon what works for your family, it’s important for you to share this plan with the other adults (caregivers, grandparents, etc) in your life. It is important to speak with your children about what to do when they are spending time with other families.  How can they navigate situations where the rules are different?
     
    Develop Healthy Habits:
    One way to help your children develop healthy habits is to model these habits yourself. Check in with yourself - What is your relationship with your phone or device? Ensuring that you do not have your device at the dinner table or during shared times, for example, will go a long way toward helping your child develop their own healthy habits. One of the best pieces of advice we received years ago was to “play along”, get involved, ask your children to share with you what they like about a game or app. Not too long ago we tried joining our teenagers in one of their favorite online games. We could barely move the main character, let alone play alongside them, but we all had a good laugh. It was definitely a bonding moment and gave us insight into not only their interests but also what the game was about.
     
    What’s working for you? We’d love to hear from you and hope you’ll join us when we have our Parent Evening Talk on digital usage which will take place on Wednesday, February 6, 2019.
     
    May your winter holidays be filled with laughter and fun-filled experiences for you and your family, both on & offline.
     
    All the best,
    ~Stacy & Celeste



    Tools To Help You On Your Digital Journey
    “The Kid Should See This connects busy teachers and parents to a growing library of smart, short, & super-cool, “not-made-for-kids, but perfect for them” videos that can be watched in the classroom or together at home. “
    Common Sense Media  (ages 5-7)
    Common Sense is the leading independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology.”
    Common Sense Media  (ages 8-9)
    Common Sense Media   (ages 10-12)
    UK site where parents and players can ask for advice about any particular video game.


    Gift Guide
    Gift guide, recommendations for both analog and digital media.
    Their annual gift guide
     
     
    From the Afterschool Office:
    Hi Families, we have recently started an Instagram page for the Afterschool program! You can find us on Instagram at @lrei_afterschool. We will be sharing photos from our Core and Enrichment Programs, and various Afterschool events. Come visit us, and get glimpse into what kids are up to in Afterschool!
     
    From Joanne Magee, Middle School Drama Teacher:

    The Middle School invite you to attend Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kastner adapted by Carl Miller. Dec 14th 7pm and 15th 2pm and 7pm. This European children’s story was written and set in Germany in 1929. Emil is a young country boy who is sent alone to Berlin with a large sum of money to deliver to his grandma. After an unfortunate event on the train, Emil finds himself in the busy streets of Berlin with only the kindness of the city kids to help him out of a sticky situation. This is an empowering tale of the inner strength of children and the need for justice in a world where many of the adults have become the ones not to be trusted.
     
    This is a production for the whole family! Tickets are $12 adults and $10 for children on sale in the Sixth Avenue lobby starting Dec 7th 8am-9am.







    Important Upcoming Dates
    Fri, Dec 7               Open PA Equity Meeting: Raising Race Conscious Children
    Mon, Dec 10           Winter Concert (6-8:00 pm @ NYU Kimmel Center)
    Wed, Dec 12           Book Fair
            -Fri, Dec 14    Book Fair
    Fri, Dec 21            Winter Break Begins: 11:45 am dismissal Fours-First grades
     
  • Remaking Education

    Allison Isbell & Margaret Paul
    Dear Families,
     
    We wanted to share with you the remarks that Allison made at our Admissions Open House earlier this week. The education our students are receiving here at LREI is what colleges are looking for and what we know is important in the world.
     
     
    "Last week I attended a conference titled Remaking Education hosted by Emerson and Olin Colleges--a joint venture between communication experts and highly specialized engineers and scientists. Held in Boston, it drew university presidents, professors, CEOs, engineers, scientists, and a high school principal/math teacher duo from LREI. You may be familiar with those Boston universities . . .
     
    It was intimidating to walk into a space where I was surrounded by so many people who are respected in their fields . . . leading universities, designing college programs, building robots! But very soon it became clear that the work we do at LREI had prepared me well for this experience.
     
    We were tasked with generating ideas that would disrupt typical systems and methods of teaching and learning in order to cultivate the skills and abilities that students need for this complex, global world. Throughout the day, we discussed the age of AI, standardized testing, and digital skills, and how the power of real human connection and purpose-driven collaboration is often overlooked, and that the most meaningful learning experiences that are those that foster collaboration, move students towards purposeful action.
     
    To be honest. I was waiting for something more earth-shattering. Something really hard. Something than an assembled room of engineers, scientists, and college presidents would have to really dig into in order to move forward. But I discovered that instead of something new, the essential qualites they are looking to create in their programs is what we’ve been doing at LREI since Elisabeth Irwin founded our school nearly 100 years ago.
     
    Collaboration, critical thinking, courage, and citizenship are not just character traits that are nice, they are essential
     
    For example, we know that the collective intellectual abilities of a team are stronger than individual effort alone, and this is why you see students collaboratively solving problems together in our math and science classrooms.
     
    We know that the ability to think iteratively: to design and revise, is the catalyst for innovative ideas, which is why our art classes are filled with film makers, painters, photographers, musicians and actors who, through the iterative processes of making, are designing work that pushes their ideas far beyond their original concepts.
     
    And we know that empathy: this deep understanding of how our lives intersect with the human condition is why our juniors design their own research trips around topics such as immigration, environmental justice, and refugee resettlement, in order to come to know and value the lives and experiences of the people who live in the  communities where this issues are unfolding.
     
    Everyday we are proud of the work we are doing with your children. We know this work matters for their time in our classrooms, and far beyond."
  • A Note From Elena, Lower School Principal

    Elena Jaime
    Dear Families,

    I imagine that the tragic events of these past several weeks, the threats to members of our local and global communities, the murders and attempted murders of people in Pennsylvania and Kentucky over the weekend, and the countless other hate crimes that have gone unreported continue to be on the minds of many of you. Last Thursday morning, I shared a note with the teachers regarding some of my thoughts on the impact of these moments on our work as educators. Below is an excerpt of that note.

    As educators in today’s political climate, we find ourselves in the position of reimagining how we teach our students, even and perhaps especially, our youngest students, about how to engage in productive, thoughtful and respectful dialogue. Regardless of where you position yourself on the political landscape, the fact remains that we are in this moment because words have been weaponized in today’s political environment. There is little dialogue that occurs between people and groups who disagree on issues, and what has taken its place is a natural inclination to demonize and dehumanize those with whom we disagree.

    When I am my best self, I hope to model the ability to speak about those with whom I fundamentally disagree in a way that still honors their humanity. To be sure, the events of yesterday are directly connected to the dangerous ways in which our leaders have chosen to consolidate political power by harnessing the very worst in people and there is an important lesson in naming that as such. My hope is that I also model for our youngest students the ways in which we combat demagoguery and hate-filled speech with clear messages of hope that are grounded in a desire to create equitable and just spaces for all.

    We are poised to help develop the next generation of citizens and activists. I hope that this note represents to you an affirmation of the work that you do every day. I feel blessed to work with people who, each day, model what it looks like to disagree about everything from a pencil at work time to the question of whether there should be limits on immigration to the US. The work you do will have a lasting impact on the state of discourse for years to come.

    I also wish to resend the resources I referenced in a push page that Judy and I co-wrote many moons ago. Above all else, it’s a reminder to watch closely what the children bring up in conversation, at work, and in play, and provide just enough information to correct any misunderstandings without adding to their worries. And, as always, to remind students that the job of the adults in their lives is to keep them safe.

    We continue to be grateful for your partnership in navigating these complicated moments with your children. Below are the resources referenced in the letter to the teachers. Please do not hesitate to be in touch.


    In partnership,
    Elena
     

    ADULT RESOURCES:
    1. School Violence Prevention: Tips for Parents and Educators: National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)  www.nasponline.org
    2. Why Did It Happen?: Helping Young Children Cope in a Violent World by Janice Cohn
    3. Helping Children Cope with Frightening News: Child Mind Institute http://childmind.org/article/helping-children-cope-frightening-news/

    STORY BOOKS FOR CHILDREN:
    1. Jenny is Scared!: When Something Sad Happens in the World by Carol Shuman
    2. The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm by LeVar Burton & Susan Schaefer Bernardo
    3. A Terrible Thing Happened by Margaret M. Holmes

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