Hello Thunderbird Families:

We cannot believe it is December already! We hope this finds you and your family well. 

As we journey through the season of Advent, may we pray for patience and for hope as we await the celebration of the birth of Christ. We continue to pray for those in our community who are ill and in need of prayers. Although Christmas may look a little different this year, we need to model the pause, contemplation and prayer in our school, families, and with our children so that they too will be reminded of the coming of baby Jesus, the true reason for the season. 

During this season of advent we encourage you as families to set aside a special time each week to gather together and light a candle on an advent wreath in your home. Use this as a time to slow things down and remind one another about the special gift that was the birth of baby Jesus. During these winter days with very little light, we are reminded that Jesus is the Light of the World (John 8:12). This is especially important to reflect upon in what seems like, for many, times of darkness. During this very important time in our liturgical year, take the time together to be mindful of the true spirit of the season, and help our students, your children shift their focus back on the season of Advent.

Please find this Special Advent Blessing and Prayer from Fr. Tim & Sarah  from St. Anthony Daniel Parish.

Our Thunderbird family wishes to extend the warmest of Christmas wishes to you all. May God bless you and yours during this festive season and may you and yours find the Advent season a time of solace and peace. 

So you are in the loop, we hope you take some time to read our communication below. As always, thanks so much for all you do to support our Thunderbird Community!

Important! Winter Pick-up/Drop off:
As the winter weather approaches, we highly recommend you consider a new location to meet your child(ren) after school. Our experience has been that the field and path area are often very icy or muddy and not safe for you or your child(ren) to be walking on. 

In the morning, we suggest you use our kiss-n-drop area at the front of our school; the large church parking lot to park and walk to drop your child(ren) off at the front of the school, they can walk to the line on their own. After school, we suggest you make a meeting spot on the city sidewalk along the school yard fence on Midland Drive and park on Midland Drive or at the large church parking lot. 

Please Note:  the laneway, front parking lot and community centre is not open for parking. Due to hours of operations there will be times where the community centre will not have the snow/ice removed, please do not park or drop off in the community centre location, thanks.

Christmas Spirit Week at the Thunderbird Nest!
We have all sorts of fun activities planned during the week of December 14th – 18th. Our goal is to spread joy, Christmas cheer and have fun! For a list of all the awesome activities please check out the link. A special thanks to Mr. V and the Student Activities Council (SAC) for organizing our Christmas Spirit Week! Link to Christmas Spirit Week

Picture Day is December 8th:
All students will have the opportunity to have their individual photo taken on December 8th. To keep our students and staff safe, Lifetouch will be following our COVID protocols, plus their own protocols. To order online please visit: https://my.lifetouch.ca/mylifetouch/#/

NOTE: when ordering you will need the following code: QX010747Q0

Be sure to Check Out:
On our website be sure to check out our About Us section. Under that tab you will find another section called School Policies and Student Expectations. There you will find all sorts of tid-bits about our policies and procedures. 

Before your Child Comes to School: (This must be done daily)
Self-Assessment: All students need to complete a self-assessment each day prior to attending school https://covid-19.ontario.ca/school-screening/

Cash Online Forms:
Have you filled out all of the Cash-online forms? Below is the list of forms that need to be read and completed by you ASAP:

  • Catholic School Advisory Council (CSAC), Nomination of Parent Candidate
  • Concussion Code of Conduct – Parent/Guardian
  • Concussion Code of Conduct – Student-Athlete
  • Critical Medical Alert
  • Emergency Dismissal
  • Walks Around the Neighbourhood-Education Excursion Consent 
  • Lunch Arrangement
  • Responsible Use of Technology & Electronic Data Access, Students Grades JK to 3
  • Responsible Use of Technology & Electronic Data Access, Students Grades 4 to 8 Consent
  • Student Image, Video or Voice Recording Including Media Use – Consent
  • Student Personal Information, Collection/Use/Disclosure Notice (Read Only)
  • Violence Threat Risk Assessment (Read Only)

Contact Information:
Is your contact information up to date? If you have a new cell/phone number, if your address has changed or if you have new emergency contact information please call the office to update all of your contact information, 519-893-8801.

Attendance:
It is super important that you call the school when your children will be away. When calling the school, 519-893-8801, speak clearly, and loudly, identifying your child’s first and last name, teacher’s name and the reason for the absence. If your child is sick, please list the symptoms your child is having and follow the COVID protocols as outlined below. Thanks!

COVID Update:
We have been advised by Public Health that healthy siblings are no longer required to be sent home to self-isolate , but are being asked to self-monitor.

In a school setting, we have designed our environment to allow students and staff to safely self-monitor by providing adequate physical distance, hand hygiene routines and the wearing of masks. 

Healthy individuals in your household do not need to be tested unless directed to by Waterloo Region Public Health or your healthcare provider. As always, please complete the daily screening tool and follow the instructions provided.

Please see this link with further details: https://www.wcdsb.ca/important-new-guidelines-for-siblings-of-ill-students/

Link to Public Health Guidelines: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JKoMYdA5u387LO5sju4Y63-o3wORNpeB/view?usp=sharing

Bus Students:
Families please remember to call the school before 3:00 or notify the teacher if your child will not be taking the bus home at the end of the day. We have a responsibility to put your child on the bus. Please contact the school if your child will not be taking the bus after school.

Also, be sure to sign up for the STSWR subscription service which allows users to receive notices about delays and cancellations to their email address or via SMS text. https://www.stswr.ca/parents/ (scroll to bottom of page for subscription service link) 

Umbrella Project:
Last month we focused our attention on building Grit and this month we are adding the skill that will help your child to be kinder to themselves in the face of failure and difficulties, Self-compassion

What will self-compassion do for my child?

You probably won’t be surprised to hear that 75% of people treat others more kindly than they treat themselves. 

Self-compassion means offering ourselves compassion when we fail, make mistakes or are at fault. Self-compassion is the opposite of self-criticism and will help your child treat themselves like they would a good friend instead of continuously judging themselves harshly.  Like a bully that is with your child all the time, self-criticism actually reduces  self-confidence (just like an external bully would), making it hard for them to succeed.  

Self-compassion helps to reduce children’s feelings of isolation and instead recognize that struggle is a normal part of being human that everyone experiences. There is a  100% chance of rain at some point in every life so it’s important that we learn to weather these storms with compassion.

Do you often catch your child saying harsh things about themselves and their abilities ?

It’s vital that we help our children avoid getting caught up in the dramatic storyline of their struggle and instead recognize this normal part of life. Imperfections, rough days, mistakes, being at fault and failures are a part of being human and the better we are at accepting this, the easier it is to preserve our wellbeing through these challenges.

Listen as Dr. Jen’s introduces this important Umbrella Skill of Self-compassion 

POST 2

Stop judging yourself as a parent so harshly!

Parenting is one of the toughest jobs in the world. Children don’t come with step-by-step instructions and there is a reason that millions of parenting books exist, all with different solutions to the same problems. Just like snowflakes, each child is completely unique and therefore responds differently to the world and our attempts to guide them.  How many times has an idea worked brilliantly for one of your children and not at all for the next? Every feel like one day you have this parenting thing nailed and the next day want to give up completely? Such is the nature of raising another human with their own agenda and parents deserve to treat themselves with a high level of compassion on the tough days.

Unfortunately, research and experience show us that this is not the case. As parents, we are terrible critics of our own best efforts to raise our children and we now know that the more we judge our own parenting, the more likely it is that our child will develop symptoms of anxiety and depression.

The solution – Less self-blame and more non-judgemental acceptance of our own parenting skills. In other words, show our children what self-compassion looks like in action. None of us are perfect parents, you will make mistakes and that’s OK!  

It sounds simple but remember that most of us have a very vocal inner critic, evaluating our every move. Start by noticing your own self-judgement and then try to think of what you might say to a good friend who was in the same situation. Say these words to yourself and remember, beating yourself up in effort to be a better parent is having the opposite effect on your child’s wellbeing. Instead take ownership of your feelings and choices, recognize when you make mistakes, apologize, keep learning and move on.  You’ve got this!

POST 3

Treat yourself as you would treat a good friend.  

Children who are low in self-compassion are often very hard on themselves. They can feel isolated and alone in their struggles and have a hard time moving on from failures. From a parenting perspective, it can be very difficult to convince children with low self-compassion that people aren’t judging them as harshly as they are judging themselves.

One of the easiest ways to help your child practice their self-compassion is to start one step outside themselves. Ask them to think about how they would treat a good friend who is struggling and then reflect on whether they treat themselves with the same care. 

This exercise is beneficial for everyone and most people are quite surprised when they take a moment to listen to what they say to themselves. The phrase “we are our own worst enemy” rings true here.

Here are a few simple steps to follow when you notice your child’s self-criticism is becoming detrimental to their wellbeing:

  1. Have them bring to mind a good friend or someone they care about and imagine it is their friend, and not them, experiencing the struggle.

  2. Ask your child these questions: What would you say to your friend in this situation?  How would you treat them? What do you think would happen if you said the same things to your friend that you are saying to yourself?  Would it help them?
  1. Help your child remember that they can be a good friend to themselves. Remind your child they should offer themselves the same amount of love, compassion, forgiveness and respect as they offer everyone else.

POST 4

Watch your language

Most of us get so used to the way we criticize ourselves that we don’t even know we are doing it. However, the words we say to ourselves have power and direct our attention. Our inner critic is really a misguided attempt to help motivate and protect ourselves. The research shows that our inner critic is unlikely to have the effect we are hoping for and holds us back from our happiness and success. Our brains like to be correct, so we unconsciously pick out the information from our environments that supports our beliefs. When we tell ourselves we are stupid, for example, we can’t succeed. When we carry broken beliefs, our brains select the information in the environment that matches this belief and so we live into our thoughts.  

In addition, when we criticize ourselves in front of our kids they begin to feel we may be secretly judging them as harshly as we are judging ourselves. It’s hard to convince them we think they are beautiful just the way they are if they see us critiquing ourselves harshly in the mirror.  

The messages we give our children directly are important too. The language we use around them creates powerful self-talk that can help them or hold them back, make them feel well or hopeless. Try to be specific when you address your children instead of making generalized comments. There is a big difference between saying “you did something bad” versus “you are bad”. The first creates self talk that can help the child take responsibility and move on.  The latter doesn’t leave room for growth or change and can leave our kids feeling powerless.  

The same goes with praise.  We want our children to feel responsible for their success so when we generalize and say “you are smart” instead of “you did very well on this specific thing” or “your hard work paid off” we can accidentally make kids feel that everything is evidence that they are either smart or not and create a lot of anxiety around failure. Their self talk becomes about avoiding anything that might risk them being proved unintelligent. Instead, praise the things your child can always control like effort and their umbrella skills.

In this short 3:30min video Dr. Jen talks about this concept of watching your language.

Additional Resources 

Interested in learning more? Here are a few more short and sweet videos about Self-compassion from Dr. Jen. 

Suffering is not failure

Instill the learner in your child 

All about our inner commentary

It’s not a weakness 

Be incident specific 

Tie to intentions (not outcomes) 

~ NURTURING ~ ENCOURAGING ~ SUCCESSFUL ~ THUNDERBIRDS ~