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Beating The Winter BluesPosted by Sarah Machold on 12/2/2019 5:00:00 AM
Beating The Winter Blues
Activities to keep your family active and engaged this winter
Find inspiration with some of these winter themed activities to do with your preschool or younger aged kiddos. A winter sensory bag is perfect for long car rides to visit family and friends! Or, on those cold, snowy days where you can't be outside, enjoy warm play activities from the comfort of your home. Obstacle courses using those boxes from presents or making blanket forts are a great way to enjoy cuddle time with your little one. We would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below to let us know some other family activities you enjoy doing with your younger children.
Do you have school-aged children at home? The extended school break is a great time to connect with your child and enjoy activities in your community.
Shoveling snow for a neighbor, volunteering with a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter, visiting a trampoline jump park or outdoor ice skating rink, are just a few options.
Whether you want to play outside or stay inside, here are some other fun winter activities to explore.
Incorporating math, reading and writing tasks into their daily routine, are creative ways to keep their brains active during the school break.
The Life Cycle of Snowman: Your child can learn the states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas through this family-friendly activity.
Is your child interested in STEM activities?
Check out these great STEM ideas you can do at home together this winter!
Snow Day Food and Fun!
Try one of these tasty recipes for a snow day treat! Snow cream or dairy-free snow cream is a simple and delicious snack. Looking for other ideas? A pine cone birdfeeder or snow-playdough are other great craft options during winter time.
Another great way to make a difference this winter season, is to donate supplies to those less fortunate through charities and food banks. Use a pre-made Reverse Advent Calendar or follow directions to make your own. Another option is making a Christmas Kindness calendar.
We hope you have a healthy and happy winter season!
Hunger and Homeless Awareness MonthPosted by Sarah Machold on 11/1/2019 12:05:00 AM
Hunger and Homelessness is a growing concern in the United States and in our community. Based on 2018 data, Virginia ranks 11th in Overall Poverty Rate. Wondering where you will sleep at night or if you will have food to eat, also impacts your child's ability to learn.
State Wide Programs
Blue Ridge Area Food Bank - Provides nourishing food to our neighbors in need through vibrant community partnerships and passionate public support. Serving 25 counties and 8 cities on either side of the Blue Ridge through distribution centers in Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Winchester and their headquarters in Verona. To learn more click here for their Network Fact Sheet or to find a pantry near you.
Project HOPE - Virginia ensures the enrollment, attendance, and the school success of children and youth experiencing homelessness through public awareness efforts across the Commonwealth and subgrants to local school divisions. What Families Need To Know brochure provides an overview of rights for students lacking fixed, regular and adequate housing.
For more information, please visit our Homeless Education webpage.
Schools within our region work hard to identify homeless students and ensure educational stability for those experiencing unstable housing.
School Performance and Emotional Toll
During elementary school, the typical student who was homeless missed 88 days of school--almost half of a school year. -Institute for Children Poverty and Homelessness
In 2016-2017, 70% of homeless students in grades 3-12th failed the Virginia Reading SOL. Approximately 75% of homeless students failed the Virginia Math SOL and 63% failed the Virginia Science SOL. State and national efforts are being made towards improving these outcomes so that barriers to education can be eliminated.
A non-profit community organization devoted to diminishing the occurrence and impact of emotional, physical, and sexual violence in Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County.
A non-profit organization offering shelter, support and God's love to the homeless. Basic needs of shelter, food, clothing and spiritual encouragement are provided to all.
Waynesboro Area Refuse Ministry (WARM) is a non-profit ministry that provides emergency and temporary housing to homeless men, women and women with children in Waynesboro and Greater Augusta County, Virginia
Mercy House is located in Harrisonburg, Virginia. A true grass roots movement-Mercy House helps to feed, clothe and shelter people in the community.
Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week
November 16-24, 2019 Join together with people across the country for Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. You can help lend a hand to those in immediate need, while also supporting meaningful long-term solutions.
Bullying Prevention MonthPosted by Sarah Machold on 9/30/2019 5:00:00 AM
Bullying has become a popular topic of discussion for our youth, parents and teachers today. Not just limited to face-to-face interactions, bullying can occur through social media, emails, and texting." The opportunity for bullying has expanded and become sneakier than ever."
There are five different types of bullying: physical bullying, verbal bullying, cyberbullying, sexual bullying, and bias bullying.
Look for changes in the child. However, be aware that not all children who are bullied exhibit warning signs.
Some signs that may point to a bullying problem are:
- Unexplainable injuries
- Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
- Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illnesses
- Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
- Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
- Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
- Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
- Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
- Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide
How to communicate with the school regarding your concerns
Augusta County Schools has begun using the STOPit App. This is an online reporting tool designed to bring attention to incidents of bullying, cyber abuse, and other inappropriate behaviors occuring in and outside of school. It allows students to anonymously report incidents or concerns to school staff. The parent video can be viewed for more information.
Parents as partners
Parents are on the frontlines and often may hear about incidents of bullying from their child at home before the school is made aware. They play a vital role in addressing, responding, and communicating the concerns to help resolve the issues. It is important for parents to talk openly with their children about their day, and directly about bullying.
Creating a safe school climate
As educators, we also play a role in combatting bullying and establishing a safe school climate for all. Be aware that bullying most frequently occurs in the cafeteria, rest rooms, library, locker rooms, and on the bus and playground. School wide initiatives occur throughout Augusta County schools during October and throughout the school year to raise awareness.
Focus on Family this New YearPosted by Sarah Machold on 1/2/2019 5:00:00 AMHave you ever considered creating a family New Year's resolution? January represents the start of a new 365 day journey, a time to start over, and create memories. It is a great time to also come together and think of family goals you would like to accomplish during the year. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Start A Weekly Ritual
- Learn Something New
- Piano Lessons
- Singing Lessons
- Take a different route home
- Explore your town's history
- Get Active
- Taking up a new sport or hobby
- Going to the playground together
- Training for a 5k as a family
- Have a dance party
- Volunteer as a Family
- Stop texting and driving
- Enable the Do Not Disturb or Driving Auto-Reply on your cell phone
- Listen to an audiobook or family sing-a-long in the car instead
- Keep focused on the road to ensure you and your children's safety!
- Put Down Devices
- Make a rule for no phones, computers, and other devices at mealtime
- Spend time, nightly, talking to your child about their school day modeling eye contact and positive communication skills
- Eat and Make Healthier foods
Unsure about a goal? Instead create a New Year's Time Capsule!Teach KindnessDo you have a chore chart at home for your children? Have you ever put together a kindness chart. It works just like a chore chart, except it has little acts of kindness that we can do as a family or that your child can do by themselves! Add an extra incentive and have your child ẗreat themselves with their favorite candy, toy or activity celebrating why and what they do to show kindness to others.
- I will use good coping skills when stressed
- Make homemade stress balls
- Deep breathing exercises
- Blow bubbles
- I will read with my parent at bedtime
- Cook something new and try one of these kid friendly recipes
- Make your own tacos
- Small children may enjoy retrieving items from low shelves or mixing dry ingredients. Older children can set the table or start a pot of water to boil. Include the family in meal planning and food shopping.