From The Director
Coaching from the Sidelines
We have 700 students here at PCK in our K-8 program and, as you might expect, we have our fair share of normal peer conflict. The reason we call it ‘normal’ peer conflict is that we expect it. Developmentally we know that kids learn important communication, social-emotional, impulse control, and problem-solving skills through their interactions with peers and, ironically, periodic conflict serves an important purpose. Sometimes these normal peer conflicts result in students feeling hurt, disappointed, angry or sad…sometimes all of the above. Later, at home, when they unload the details of their negative interaction, two things often happen:
1.) The story/details shared may be skewed to minimize any negative behavior on their part and, instead, cast the other person in the worst light in terms of intent or motive. This often triggers the second reaction…
2.) Our ‘Mamma bear’ or ‘Papa bear’ instinct to protect our own child engages — someone has hurt our child and we feel the overwhelming need to protect him/her.
Both of these reactions are normal and expected, too. However, when our instinct to protect takes us out of the role of ‘coach’ (someone who assists from the sidelines, giving advice and encouragement over a period of time) and puts us smack dab in the role of defender (someone who jumps in to rescue their child by fixing or solving the problem), we inadvertently interfere with important life lessons. Some parents charge in (figuratively, of course) and begin firing such advice as:
“Just stay away from that bully!”
“The next time he/she does X, you say Y” — usually something equally hurtful or insulting.
“If so and so hurts you again, you have my permission to fight back.”
Here at PCK, we see it all, and we understand the valuable lessons learned through normal peer conflict. Over the years, I have been amazed by some of the fabulous coaching conversations and sound advice many of you give your children, and I am always pleased when I hear a parent say, “They have to learn to deal with X,Y or Z” or “I encouraged my child to try this, that or another thing so that they will learn how to handle future situations on their own.” These are all great coaching conversations.
Another very effective coaching strategy is to talk with your child about all aspects the issue. Sometimes children need guidance in order to consider another perspective or option that might solve their issue. For example, when talking with a child who is convinced another student intentionally kicked him during a soccer game, try exploring the nature of soccer and the possibility that the kick was the result of accidental play…or maybe because he was playing goalie and goalies are more apt to get kicked given their proximity to the goal. Expanding perspectives is always helpful, and I find when I chat with students I am able to offer up alternatives they haven’t yet considered.
Finally, as tempting as I know it can be, and as often as the word is tossed around and casually applied to many actions, I respectfully ask that parents refrain from calling other students bullies. Bullying is a very serious issue, and as such we address it accordingly. However, over my 17 years here at PCK, I have only really seen a small percentage of situations that involve a true bully. More often than not, students are involved in a ‘normal’ peer conflict situation and neither they nor the other student has the skills to successfully resolve the conflict, and thus it continues. Other times, there is a dynamic that grows over time between kids, and they become trapped in what I call the “cumulative effect over time” dilemma. As time goes on, they or their peers grow less and less tolerant of typical annoying or inappropriate behaviors that do not abate.
As I said, we deal with it all, and some situations are easier to resolve than others. However, our goal in every situation is to make sure students are aware of what is/isn’t appropriate, and what changes we expect them to make. Some improvements happen after one intervention, and others may take months or even years to resolve. We coach, we educate, we build skills, and we understand growing up is hard work and there can be challenges to overcome along the way. I hope we as parents, teachers, and coaches can remember that at the core of all the drama is usually a young child who needs our help and guidance. By working together with other parents, and coaching children through difficult situations, parents teach and model important life skills such as patience, kindness, tolerance, respect, problem-solving and conflict resolution.
Thanks for all your efforts to be great coaches from the sidelines. Your child will grow up stronger, grittier, and more confident as a result.
New Tech Clubs Starting Soon
We have two new Tech Clubs starting in February. Students in 4th – 8th grades can participate in Python and/or Java clubs before school. Get the details here.
In Search of Shovelers
We are looking for parent volunteers to help shovel the blacktop portion of our backyard when it snows so we can have outdoor recess. We have shovels at the school, but if you have a snowblower you can bring the job will go more quickly. This volunteer opportunity will be in the mornings before 9:00am. If you would like to be on call for this task, please contact Laura Parkes at the front desk. She will compile a list of volunteers and will contact you when we need help.
Get Jumping For Kids Heart Challenge
The Physical Education Department has our annual Kids Heart Challenge (jump rope unit) in February. During this month-long unit, we partner with the American Heart Association to teach your students how to take care of their hearts and be heart healthy. Every year we conclude the unit with special Jump Rope Challenge Days on February 27 and 28. On these days we encourage students to dress down and donate to the American Heart Association. We ask for a one-time $10 donation (cash prefered) on Wednesday, February 27. Students will give their donations to their classroom teachers. All K-8 students may participate, and all donations go to the American Heart Association. We look forward to an exciting month of the Kids Heart Challenge.
Mr. Bauer, Mr. Cruz, Mr. Minshall
Coin Drive Update
Thank you to everyone who brought in donations for our coin drive benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We raised approximately $2,144, and Mrs. Seaback’s 4th grade class won the pizza party. We love that generous PCK spirit!
See Our Budding Artists At The PCK Art Show
When you come to PCK for Parent-Teacher Conferences on February 12-13, be sure to allow some extra time to tour the PCK Art Show. We have very talented students, and you will be impressed by their work. The art will be displayed around the school so make sure you get to see it all – you won’t be disappointed!
Student Greeters Needed For Art Show
Enthusiastic student greeters needed to welcome parents to the PCK Art Show on Feb. 12th and 13th. The shifts will be 1 1/2 hours. Parents can receive volunteer hours. To sign up, please email Mrs. Barker.
A Letter From 1st Grade
Dear Foundation at PCK,
We would like to extend our gratitude for the grant program. The first grade team has used this program multiple times since it was started. You guys have granted us things such as: circuit boards, character education books, wobble stools, morning work bins, and guided reading tables. These items have enhanced our students’ learning and classroom community immensely. We use each of these items on a daily basis. For example, because of our morning work bins our students are excited to come in to school. It is an appealing start to the day and invitation to school, rather than a worksheet on their desk. Our parents have even commented that their morning routine has been easier because their child wants to come to school. The character education library has been a valuable resource for multiple grades in teaching the monthly character trait. We use these books whenever issues arise in the classroom and to support our classroom community. We really appreciate the opportunity to ask for these items that are outside our normal budget, and things that we could only dream of having. Thank you for creating this program and making our wishes come true!
The 1st grade team
This letter highlights just a few of the meaningful items your donations help purchase for our school. Thank you for giving so generously and for equipping our teachers to provide your children the highest quality education.
Help Plan PCK’s 25th Anniversary Celebration
We are looking for a group of parent volunteers to help plan some festivities to celebrate PCK’s upcoming 25th anniversary. If you would like to be part of the team, please RSVP to Laura Parkes at our front desk.
Help Your Student Shine With Cotillion
Registration for the Spring Douglas County JDW Cotillion (click here for general information) opens February 7 for the classes starting in March. There is a session for 4th – 5th grade boys and girls, and one for 6th – 8th grade students. Participants learn social skills, etiquette, communication skills, and much more. Click on the link for your child’s grade level to get more information, including a schedule of what your child will learn and the dress code requirements.
Have You Ever Experienced A Flight Simulator?
Our 7th graders had a field trip to Wings Over The Rockies last week where they toured the museum and experienced the flight simulator. It was a thrilling experience for all.
Watch Those Street Signs
Residents of the Lincoln Creek neighborhood behind the school have notified us of PCK parents going the wrong way on Centerpark Loop. This is a one-way street. Please pay attention to, and follow, all posted traffic signs. We want to be good, law-abiding neighbors. Please also mention this to grandparents, nannies, friends, and relatives who may drive your child to/from school or may visit PCK for special events. Thanks for your help!
New Mad Science Class Starts Next Month
Students in kindergarten through 5th grade can learn about circuits, conductors, currents, and much more in this energizing after-school club. Get the details and registration information here.
Please Check Your My School Bucks Account Today
We have several families with unpaid school fees. Please make sure you are up-to-date with your payment by logging in to My School Bucks and verifying your account balance today. If you have a middle school student, all elective fees must be paid. Get instructions for logging in to My School Bucks here.
Middle School Book Fair Volunteers Needed
Our Middle School Book Fair is coming up on February 11-14. We need some enthusiastic parent volunteers to keep things running smoothly. You can get the details and sign up here.
News From The PTA
- A HUGE thank you to everyone who came out for Dinner N Darts. It was a huge success and it seems everyone had a great time! Thank you to Nerf Turf for partnering with us on this event and to all the amazing volunteers who came to help. We couldn’t have done it without you!
- Our next Spirit Night is on February 21 at Panera and Orange Leaf.
- Save the Date! The Father/Daughter Dance “A Night In Paris” is coming February 23rd 6-8pm. Please look for ticket details and volunteer opportunities next week!
Great Donations Make The Gala Auction A Hit
We are currently collecting donated items for our annual Gala auction. If you already have something to donate, please bring it to the front desk of the school. If you are out savoring a great dinner, enjoying a special shop, or thrilling to a new adventure, ask if that business would be willing to donate a gift card or item to our auction. Click here for more information and themes for each grade level. All donations need to be turned in by March 8. If you have any questions, please contact Mary Mockus at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brassical Adventures Is Coming To PCK
Denver Brass will be at the PCK Preschool on February 2 presenting Brassical Adventures. This is a fun, interactive, no-need-to-sit-still event designed to inspire a love of music in children ages preschool through 2nd grade. Get the details here.
The Art Department is planning a few collaborative art projects for Earth Day and will need plastic water bottles and various colors of bottle caps. Please take off the label and send only clean bottles. Start collecting these at home to send to school the week of February 25. Thank you for your help!
Did You Know…
If you would like to receive a text message from DCSD when we have weather-related delays or closures, text “YES” to 68453. You must have agreed to receive text messages when you registered your student for school at the beginning of the year to successfully opt in to these updates.