December News From Dr. Wallace
Dear Challenger Parents,
December is here! Everyone looked a little sleepy coming in this Monday after Thanksgiving, but I have no doubt that the students will be wide awake and raring to go as the days toward our next holiday gets closer. As we enter the last three weeks before the semester closes, please know how hard your children having been working! As you can see on report cards, in papers home, reading together, and in conversations, the evidence of the hard work our Challenger students. We thank them for being such great kids, and we thank you for your support in their learning!
December is also a time of giving. This is the time of year we like to say thank you to our CNP workers in the lunchroom and our fantastic custodians. Starting Thursday, we will have our annual Boys against Girls Dollar Drive to help provide a gift of thanks to them. Please send in any donation. We will have students drop the donations into the buckets every morning during our GMC show. In addition to this, we continue to fundraise for Space Camp for those students whose families need help funding the total amount of the trip. We are happy to write a receipt for any donation to go toward the fifth graders.
As the mom of two young adults, I still remember the beauty, and at times the overwhelmingness of the season ahead. I have read a couple of articles that may help you as parents and guardians in the weeks and days ahead. In Keep Your Kids From Going Feral During the Holidays, author Jancee Dunn suggests parents keep in mind the “3 pillars of wellness- sleep, food and exercise.” Maintaining regular bedtime and wake time may seem like a pain during a school break, but in the long run will be better for kids. As far as food goes, she suggests that if kids end up having too much sugar providing a protein may help counteract a meltdown. I like the idea that if you have cookies, you will need a bite or two of chicken to balance it out. Exercise is suggested to get rid of pent up energy and provide a good mood stabilizer. A few minutes racing up and down the sidewalk or playing ball in the back yard is needed a couple of times every day. I’d also add a fourth pillar – reading! There is nothing like reading good books or enjoying your mom or dad (especially dad!) read to you (at any age).
In addition to this article, our Speech and Language teacher, Lydia Craft, shared the following information with teachers, and I thought you should have this as well considering our students access to computers. Ms. Craft shared from Digital Diets and the Impact of Screen Time on Language Development.
- For every 30 minutes of screen time there is a 49% increased risk of expressive speech delay.
- Screen time causes an increased rise in the chemical Dopamine. App developers measure physiological responses (heart rate, etc.) that correlate with Dopamine rises when developing apps. Research is showing that children are having more dopamine firing in their brains than ever before due to increases in screen time. The result? A fight or flight response as their bodies have not adapted to handle these high levels of dopamine. Fight or Flight can look like--physical running from unfamiliar/uncomfortable situations, emotional outbursts, and increases in anxiety or depression as children's brains crave more and more dopamine.
- Children who watch screens (iPad, tv etc.) before 18 months of age cannot differentiate between a real object and the representation of an object on a screen. This negatively impacts frontal lobe development. Research is showing that children who watched screens prior to 18 months of age have a hugely increased risk of Autism.
- Parent and child conversations are the most influential contributor to vocabulary development prior to school entry. Read, read, read and talk about it!
- The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 2 hours a day of screen time for school age children. This time includes talking to an adult who is preoccupied with their device in hand.
I hope you have a joyous month ahead and happy holidays! Thank you for your support of Challenger! We couldn’t do it without you!
Michele Wallace Ed.D.