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Hanover Heights Community School
Home of the Foxes
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Dear Parents/Guardians & School Community Members:

As we enter our second month together we have quickly begun to establish routines, develop expectations in our classrooms and as a school unit. We have reconnected with friends from last year and for many, we have made new ones! The Fox Den is a wonderfully positive, enriching and caring place to learn, explore and grow. One of the ways we continue to foster positive growth in our school community is to help our foxes, young and old, to understand and implement appropriate ways to communicate, respect one another and problem-solve.

Included in this newsletter you will find our new, “Hanover Heights School Code Of Conduct For ALL”. This  code outlines the foundation of our school philosophy, a mantra that is consistent and expected for all of our members- students and adults!  Foxes are responsible; Foxes are respectful; Foxes are reasonable! Please take a moment to review this Code of Conduct and to help our students to  understand that the most important people in their lives, you their parents and guardians, not only understand these principles, but that you apply them when communicating with others, when solving problems and… that you model them for our youngest and most important members!

One of the ways that we are working to help our students and school community members grow is to help all of us to learn the difference between conflict and bullying. Often the term bullying is overused or misused, and this is confusing to children and a disservice to those who are experiencing true bullying behaviours. Conflict is a normal part of life and can be a healthy thing (although emotions can definitely be heightened and feelings truly hurt) as “it teaches children to learn to how to give and take, how to come to an agreement, and most importantly how to solve a problem”.

Conflict is characterized by the fact that it generally happens in the heat of the moment. It is often a difference of opinion and most of the time both parties involved are equally upset although the type of emotion may differ for each side. It is not something that happens all the time nor is it usually planned; it tends to be every now and then and most of the time those involved want to see it sorted out and resolved and those involved equally have the power to change the situation.

Bullying is more of a deliberate act and there is the intention to hurt, insult or threaten the other person. In the case of bullying there is a definite power imbalance where the bully seeks to manipulate the situation so that the target has no power. This makes it very difficult for the student being bullied. They want to see the bullying stopped; however, often there is no willingness on the bully’s side to change. Bullying is usually a repeated activity.

At the Fox Den, we are working hard to educate our students about the differences between conflict and bullying. Just as importantly, we are working on providing our students with strong strategies to cope and problem-solve. By giving your children the tools to become effective  and respectful communicators, sensitive, caring listeners and  accountable & honest participants in solving the problem, we are creating a group of children who will be independent mediators, facilitators and above all, individuals who are resilient, and truly empathetic.
It’s easy to jump in and fix the problem, but coaching children on their conflict resolution skills is a more useful strategy with a bevy of long-term benefits. Helping children to listen to each other, to see another point of view, and to problem-solve so everyone's happy, promotes equality, fairness and avoids an unhelpful ‘win-lose’ mentality.

So how can we all help our children to solve conflict? To  deal with bullying? The following page lists some helpful tips and strategies to help our children deal with conflict and with true bullying situations. As we continue to focus on these strategies in our classrooms, presentations, literature, assemblies and school community events, we ask you to continue to be our partners in education by taking time to talk to your children about constructive problem solving and to help to model these skills.  
If your child is disagreeing with his or her friends or siblings, try these steps for conflict resolution:

Set the stage for win-win outcomes – ask for all sides of the story.
Have children state their own needs and concerns – ask each child what they want or what are they most concerned about.
Help children listen to each other and understand their needs and concerns.
Help children think of different ways to solve the problem – what are all of the possible solutions? Younger children may need some adult help with this and may be confused by lots of options, so keep it simple.
Build win-win solutions - help children choose a solution that’s fair to everyone from the options they have come up.
Put the solution into action and see how it works.

Teaching our children how to effectively solve conflicts is a vitally important skill that will last a lifetime. Children engage in conflict for many reasons. For example, conflict may occur when children disagree about who won a race in gym class or when other children won't share their toys. When children cannot solve conflicts, their behavior can escalate into physical or verbal aggression or cause serious emotional problems, like intense anger or anxiety. As adults, we play an important role in teaching and modeling appropriate conflict-resolution skills and here are a few:

Cooling off when upset
Speaking directly to each other
Speaking assertively, honestly, and kindly
Listening carefully to others and accurately paraphrasing their words
Proposing solutions and agreeing on a solution to try

When a child is the victim of persistent targeting for the purpose of destroying self-confidence and taking away their sense of control, adults can help by teaching their children to develop appropriate and strong social problem-solving skills and encouraging these students to tell someone that they trust in various situations (i.e., a parent/guardian, a teacher, a coach, club leader, another friend). We can all help those being bullied and..  those who are engaging in the bullying (the bully) by:

Teach problem solving skills directly related to the various typed of bulling (physical, verbal, cyber, alienation)
Help children understand and deal with their feelings
Encourage impulse control and problem solving
Help children practice listening  skills
Practice coming up with possible solutions and  anticipating consequences for all involved
Help children understand that everyone is unique and that this is something to be respected not simply tolerated
Encourage children to label their own feelings and tell others how they feel about bullying
Discuss with those bullying, how children bullying might be feeling
Remind those bullying how they felt in times of distress
Model empathy and what it means to “put yourself in another person’s shoes”
Teach children where to go for help in different situations (at school, at home, at the rink, etc.)

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Last Modified: Jun 16, 2015 Visitor Count:page counter image