In this issue: Winter Showcase / Host Family Needed / Lice Alert / Car Line Courtesy
Dear Falcon Families,
The holiday season is upon us and we are all looking forward to a break from our regular routines and extra time to spend with family and friends. However, I know this season can also be a stressful one in some ways. For children, even just the change in routine, while welcome, can bring with it some anxiety. And for all of us, major holidays actually make the top 40 list of life events on “stress inventories.” Holidays are supposed to be happy times but even happiness can cause stress!
Recent research has led to estimates that up to 75% of all medical disorders are directly influenced by stress. In adults stress can cause very serious and permanent issues. Fortunately in children, symptoms of stress are not usually so negative and range from headaches to nervous laughter to boredom. These signs should not be ignored. Here are some ideas on how to break the cycle of stress in our children’s lives. They will be healthier and happier for it… and so will you!
The absolute first effort is to make sure your children are getting enough sleep! If they have been “running on fumes” trying to fit everything in the last few weeks, start the holidays off right with some early nights and/or some sleep-in mornings. After they are caught up, maintain the habit of getting enough rest each and every night. Not only does lack of sleep affect children’s ability to deal effectively with life’s stressors, it suppresses their immune systems and literally stunts their mental and physical growth. Research has proven that sleep is essential for normal growth and development (heart, brain, muscles, everything). Two major reasons account for this finding:
- Growth hormone, a substance produced by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain, stimulates growth of the body and its constituent parts. This hormone is secreted during sleep; and,
- Our body expends much less energy during sleep than when awake and active;
- Thus, energy can be "diverted" from maintaining wakefulness and activity levels, to the function of growth.
Next, monitor screen time. Did you know the average 18 year old has spent nearly 16,000 hours in front of a screen? (By contrast, they have spent 13,000 hours in the classroom.) Not only does this fact have it’s own host of negative consequences, these are hours that have *not* been spent interacting with peers and family or engaging in creative play, all of which are natural ways that children exercise their resiliency in relation to stressful situations.
A good way to reduce the temptation to turn vacation time into screen time is to be proactive and plan for fun, family things that not only get everyone together but have the added benefit of battling stress. Activities that include lots of walking, like hikes out in nature, going to the museum, touring Christmas lights on foot, letterboxing, playing outside, etc. bring a natural endorphin release without your children feeling they are being made to “exercise.” Instead of watching a movie after your outing, have a family game night, bake, or make crafts together while playing some relaxing music and simmering some spices on the stove, or better yet, making some mulled cider. The traditional scents of spice, citrus and evergreens associated with the holidays are not only pleasant, they actually have a calming effect on our nervous systems!
Finally, explore some ways to learn relaxation with your children. Just like anxiety is a learned behavior, relaxing can also be learned. Stress activates our “flight or fight” response, but the good news is we all have a natural protective mechanism called the “relaxation response” and it is easy to activate. All you need is a quiet, comfortable spot and a method to practice some kind of positive inner conversation or visualization. Relaxing music and scents enhance the experience, but really, these exercises can be done almost anywhere. There are lots of great resources to learn muscle relaxation techniques and visualizing. Children naturally have active imaginations and really enjoy these activities. Dr. Suzuki of violin fame has shown the efficacy of these techniques on learning, which is another reason to learn to relax. We all learn everything better when free of anxiety.
To you and yours from all of us at Cascade Heights, warm wishes for a wonderful, relaxing holiday and all the best in the new year!
SPECIAL PERFORMANCE TONIGHT at 6:30 PM!
Winter Core Knowledge Showcase
Students should arrive between 6 and 6:15 ready to perform. They may wear dressy attire or their clean uniform. This means NO jeans, leggings, etc. Slacks with a button up shirt and tie or a nice blouse are fine. Dresses or skirts must be knee length or longer and tops must cover the shoulders and not be low cut.
Family and friends are all invited to this free performance!
Parents and guests, please find a seat in either the gym or the cafeteria. All classes will be performing in both locations. At the end of the program all students will be released to a parent from the classroom.
8th Grade will also be hosting a Concession Stand. Thank you for your support!
Parking: Please arrive early to assure a parking space. For handicap access, park at the breezeway entrance and ring the bell to get to the ramp.
MISS TINA NEEDS A HOST FAMILY
Even if you cannot host, please feel free to invite Miss Tina over for a meal or visit, include her in outings to see local sites, or anything that would give her a chance to meet more people, have more cultural experiences, and see more of this beautiful part of the world. She would love to join you! The best way to reach her is through Teacher Wenny at 503.702.0993.
PLEASE continue to be vigilant in checking your children for lice (even the children who do not attend Cascade Heights). This will be especially important over the holiday break while traveling and visiting. New information indicates that wet checks are the most effective method and our website has good resources. Resources are also available, through the office, our lice check team leaders, Mrs. Bethke and Mrs. Gilliam, as well as a local company Lice Knowing You (503.239-LICE (5423).
If you discover head lice in your family, please notify these people immediately:
AND your child's Classroom Teacher:
Thank you for your cooperation in helping Cascade Heights stay lice free!
CAR LINE COURTESY
You’ve probably noticed the cones blocking the entrance and exit of the staff parking lot on the north side of the building. These have been placed out each afternoon to prevent vehicles from exiting during carline. Vehicles exiting through carline disrupt the flow of traffic, which endangers children loading. If you are visiting the school in the afternoon and would like to leave before the end of carline (usually 3:45), please park in the gravel lot on the south side of the building. In addition:
- Please do not block the driveways at any time, even during periods when they are coned off.
- Do not leave your car unattended unless it is parked in a lot. If your car is in car line, you must be with your car.
Thank you for your consideration and willingness to be flexible.