Website & E-Alerts
Middle Gate has adopted a "NO FOOD" birthday celebration policy. Birthdays will be celebrated in classrooms with singing and sharing happy wishes for the Birthday Star! Contact your child's classroom teacher to discuss what is expected for birthday celebrations. Some suggestions include:
NON-EDIBLE treats for the class (pencils, stickers, bookmarks, erasers…),
BIRTHDAY BOOK DONATION to the class and/or join us to read a story to the class,
BIRTHDAY BAG/JAR that contains items that tell about the birthday star.
You should send a note to school with your child if s/he is going home a different way than her/his normal schedule. If your plans change prior to the end of our school day (ex. your child was a scheduled pickup but you would like him/her to take the bus home), you must notify us by calling the Main Office (203-426-7662). You may also send our office staff an email (below) and should request a reply confirming receipt of the message. Our teachers are busy with children and may not have the opportunity to check their email. Please do not email any dismissal changes directly to your child’s teacher. We will share any changes with the classroom teacher prior to dismissal. Thank you!
Main Office Staff
email Laura Altieri, Executive Secretary
email Cindy Aponte, Clerk
Classroom Visitors/School Volunteers
At Middle Gate School, we are very grateful for the level of volunteerism and cherish your involvement. The staff appreciates your support and the children love seeing you in the building. If you would like to Volunteer, please click the following link to view the forms and procedures: School Volunteer Forms & Procedures
Please note a few reminders regarding visitation:
- All visitors must sign in at the Main Office.
- Visitors should complete and wear the visitor sticker or badge.
- When volunteering, visitors should only go to the designated rooms or working/meeting areas.
- If you are dropping off items or delivering a message, the office is available to assist you. Please do not “pop in” to your child’s class. This can often be distracting to the children and may “throw off” the lesson.
- After visiting, please remember to sign out in the Main Office.
Guidelines for Offering Choices
- Choices build responsibility and commitment, and communicate the teacher's respect for students' needs and preferences.
- Choices like boundaries, are motivational tools that encourage cooperation through input and empowerment.
- Offer choices in the absence of desirable student behavior, to encourage the student to perform a particular behavior he is not currently demonstrating.
- Choices can also help prevent disruptive behaviors, however other strategies will be suggested for intervening negative behavior or reinforcing performance, growth and existing positive behavior.
- Present available options in a positive manner.
- Be careful that the choice doesn't end up spoken as "do it or else."
- Be honest. Make sure that options you offer are acceptable.
- Make sure there are no wrong choices: If you don't want the student to choose something, don't make it an option. (For example, if you want them to do the outline first, offer sequence options about the other activities-after the outline is finished.)
- Make sure the choices you offer are clear and specific. Asking a child to select a meaningful learning activity leaves you open for some pretty broad interpretations. Instead, define choices with clearly stated limits.
- Start simple. If a student is having difficulty making decisions, it may be that there are too many options or that the limits are too broad or unclear.
- If a student is having difficulty with even a simple choice, add another limit if necessary, by asking him to choose within a certain amount of time (after which you get to help him choose).
- Be patient. Some young students and well-conditioned order-takers need time and practice to develop confidence in their ability to choose.
- Increase options as the students can handle them, either by widening the range of choices you offer or by making the options more complex.
- Depending on your goals, schedule and resources, you might leave room for students to change their minds if they are disappointed with a choice they've made.
- If time and management require the student to make a choice and stick with it, make that clear when you present the available options. Reassure the students that they can try again later (or tomorrow or next week)
- As they become more capable, encourage the students to participate in setting up choices (or negotiate an alternative assignment, for example) whenever possible.
- If students suggest a choice that you think is inappropriate , tell them your concerns and ask if they can come up with another idea. Reiterate your criteria if necessary. If something is just plain non-negotiable, say so, but help the student look for acceptable options available within those limits.
Day 2. Sprinkler day. Delay your sprinklers for one day so they come a little later in the morning. This way everyone can get on their bathing suits and have fun jumping through the sprinklers on a hot day. But not for too long! This is a good time to teach them about conserving water, reducing utility costs, etc.
Day 3. Attend “story time” at your local library. My kids love to check out books on all kinds of subjects. Many libraries also have a story time to encourage a summer reading program. Stories are read out loud and the kids have a chance to interact with the story-teller and answer questions about the book.Day 4. Set up a lemonade stand. This is probably my favorite idea because of the lessons in entrepreneurship involved. Loan your kids $10 as “seed money” for supplies, or better yet, let them use their own money from savings. This way they don’t get used to the idea that borrowing leads to prosperity. Take the kids along to the grocery store one morning and let them pick up the lemons, sugar, cups, and a couple bags of ice to keep in a cooler. Yes, Crystal Light lemonade works, too, but is less authentic and more expensive. This is a great way for neighborhood kids to work together, as they can divide into teams to man the lemonade stand, make the lemonade, handle the money, etc. Please remember that an adult needs to be with the kids at all times, both inside and outside the house, so have a neighbor help.
Bonus: Use the money your kids earn to open a Kids Savings Account at ING Direct, where they can begin to understand the mechanics of banking, compound interest, etc. while earning a decent return on their money.
Day 5. Teach your kids to fly a kite. Check your 10-day forecast and look for a windy day in the coming week. Pick up an expensive kite for the kids. I even recommend springing for the extra spool of kite string on a roller because the string and handles that come with the kites are lousy.
Day 6. Make homemade play-doh. I haven’t run a cost analysis on this recipe to determine it’s “frugalness,” but I can tell you it is a lot of fun! I suppose the next best option would be to pick up some commercial Play-Doh on sale, but what fun would that be?Day 7. Bake a cake. I remember having a ball helping my mom bake something when I was young. And not all the fun came at the end when I got to lick the icing from the bowl! Let your kids help bake a cake, and surprise mom or dad when they arrive home that afternoon.
Plenty of teachable moments here with opportunities to teach fractions (four 1/4 cups equals one cup, etc.).
Day 8. Build a “fort” in the living room. When my son was smaller he got the biggest kick out of playing in giant cardboard boxes. We would color them, and cut “windows” out for him to look through. A living room “fort” could be as simple as a few kitchen chairs gathered in a circle with a large bed sheet thrown across them and draped to the floor. The kids can hide from mom and dad, read books, or pretend they are camping out in the living room.
Day 9. Go bowling. My grandfather and I spent many hot, summer afternoons bowling a couple games at the local bowling alley. These days, bowling can be an expensive activity. Call the lanes ahead of time and ask if they have any summer specials (certain days may be cheaper). Also check those coupon mailer packs for coupons for free games. To keep costs down, just let the kids bowl – you can work on your game another time.
Day 10. Declare a “bored” game day. I learned to play chess, checkers, backgammon, and poker (my mom wasn’t thrilled with that) one summer while staying with my grandparents. Few kids today don’t realize you can play games without a computer. Most of these old board games are inexpensive in their basic form – skip the “deluxe” edition, and check out the board game selection at Amazon.com to save even more.
Day 11. Have a water balloon fight. My son attended a birthday party recently and the parents had filled several dozen mini balloons with water. The kids participated in games like a water balloon toss – they start close together, but take a step back with each toss to increase the distance. The last one to break the balloon is out. With that was left, the kids had an all-out water balloon battle. Lots of fun, but be sure to pick up the balloon remains, especially if you have very little ones or pets as they could be a choking hazard.
Day 12. Create a “mini-me.” Find a piece of large poster board, or large heavy-duty paper (such as a butcher paper) wide enough for your kids to lay down on. Use a dull pencil (less chance for boo-boos) to trace their entire body to the paper from head to toe. Now let the kids decorate the kids to look like themselves in the same clothes they are wearing, same color eyes, hair, etc. When they are finished, help them cut out their mini-me for proud display.
Day 13. Pajama day. I feel like having these days as an adult! Stay in your pajamas all day long. Make pancakes in the morning, bake a pizza for lunch, and lounge around watching movies. Use your Netflix subscription to have a couple kid-friendly movies on hand.Day 14. Spend a day volunteering your time. A good way to wrap up your two-week blitz of summertime fun is to allow your kids to donate their time to a worthy cause. Contact a few local charities and find out which ones will allow kids to volunteer some time over the summer (under your supervision). My daughter has worked with Project Linus in the past – an organization that makes blankets for children who’ve suffered a traumatic experience.
Bonus tip: Get your kids to come up with their own shirt designs, then have a custom t-shirt printing service bring them to life. It’ll be a thrill for your kids to see their ideas put on clothing they can enjoy throughout the summer.
Top Ten Tips
Give them your confidence. A child this age will often doubt his abilities. Sometimes he will verbalize this lack of confidence; sometimes it stays his little secret. You can help him by sharing your own confidence in his abilities with him. Be matter-of-fact about his talents and express your complete confidence in him, even if you have your own set of concerns.
Be interested. What is your child learning in school? How did recess go? What is your child’s favorite activity at school? Anything upsetting her? Staying involved in your child’s daily life goes a long way towards establishing a healthy on-going relationship.
Friendships count. An elementary- age child is learning a lot about friendships. What works, and frustratingly, what doesn’t, They are also learning that families operate differently; what is an important rule in your own family may not matter very much in another family. Learning that people do things differently is an important lesson at this stage.
Talk values! This is an important age to solidify what values are important to your family. Ideas such as: ‘We are kind. We are fair, We are caring, We do our ‘personal best’, and We tell the truth even when it gets us in trouble’. These important concepts MUST be taught early and often if you want him to live by them when he gets to the teen years.
Don’t overload. In this day of multiple after school activities, it’s easy to pile on too much for the average elementary-age student. Her main ‘job’ is to go to school, so give adequate time, space, and support for homework. Once that is finished, free playtime is important for optimal physical health and to foster creativity.
Family time is a priority. Daily dinnertime together, a weekly game night, chores done as a team, a quiet time reading or enjoying music together, playing sports as a family; any of these ides and many more are great ways to foster a sense of family in your home. Make sure you make family time a priority!
Celebrate the team. Kids this age need to know they’re a part of something bigger than themselves. Whether it’s being part of a club, church, sport team, family, classroom or other organization, the need to give your time and talent is important to emphasize. Collaboration and teamwork are essential life skills to ensure your child becomes a productive and contributing member of society.
Have a family ‘thing.’ Decide on a family hobby or sport and jump right in! It may be sharing a family holiday tradition, biking together, learning to play tennis, build a playhouse, play cards, create together with Lego’s, volunteering at a senior center or even investigate the stars together. Trust me, nothing will build family memories easier than a shared family hobby.
Teach personal responsibility! This parenting tip is vital for the long-term well-being of your child. Chores, homework and learning new skills like musical instruments or a sport are excellent ways to teach your child about being responsible to help them become accountable for their success, their possessions, and their actions and words.
Less Play Time
Adult interference may deprive children of needed challenges, not to mention fun
September 22, 2011 by Jenifer Goodwin --- HealthDay Reporter
From hide-and-seek to tearing around the neighborhood with friends, playing is one of the hallmarks of childhood. But in this era of hyper-vigilant parenting, researchers find that children in the United States have far less time to play than kids of 50 years ago, a trend that may have serious consequences for their development and mental health.
"Into the 1950s, children were free to play a good part of their childhood. If you stayed in your house around your mom, she'd say 'go out and play.' The natural place for a kid was outside," said Peter Gray, a research professor of psychology at Boston College.
"Today, it's quite the opposite. Parents are not allowing kids the freedom to play. And even if they do, there are no other kids out there to play with, or the mother may have such restrictions on the child, such as 'you can't go out of the yard' that the kids don't want to stay out there," added Gray.
When kids are allowed to play, they make up games, negotiate rules and make sure others are playing fair. All of that helps to teach children how to make decisions, to solve problems and gain self-control. Children who have too many emotional outbursts or who insist on getting their way too often quickly learn they need to change their behavior if they want to continue to be welcomed into the group, Gray said.
Through free play, "they are acquiring the basic competencies we ultimately need to become adults," said Gray, author of two studies published recently in the American Journal of Play.
But since the mid-1950s, adults have played an increasingly larger role in their children's activities, to the detriment of their kids' mental health, Gray said. And, playing organized sports with a coach or other adult directing the activity doesn't replace "free" play that's directed by kids, he noted.
Research suggests that today's children are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, feelings of helplessness and narcissism, all of which coincides with a decrease in play and more monitoring and managing of children's activities by parents, he wrote in this special journal issue devoted to the decline in free play.
For boys, in particular, rough-and-tumble play helps teach emotional regulation, said Peter LaFreniere, a professor of developmental psychology at the University of Maine, in a separate article.
Boys learn that if they want to keep their friend, they can't let things go too far or truly hurt the other child -- a skill that helps boys grow into men who keep aggression and anger in check, LaFreniere said.
"It's better to make the mistakes when you're 4," he said. "Children learn there are consequences to their actions; they learn to regulate the aggression even in the heat of the moment."
Despite a growing chorus from experts about the importance of play for kids' mental and physical well-being, research indicates the amount of time kids are playing has declined significantly.
One survey Gray cited asked a nationally representative sample of parents to keep track of their kids' activities on a randomly selected day in 1981 and another in 1997. The researchers found that 6- to 8-year olds of 1997 played about 25 percent less than that age group in 1981.
Another study from about a decade ago asked 830 U.S. mothers to compare their children's play with their own play when they were kids. While about 70 percent of the mothers reported playing outdoors daily as children, just 31 percent said their own kids did. Mothers also said when their kids played outside, they stayed outside for less time.
If anything, that trend has accelerated in the ensuing decade, Gray said.
So what's keeping kids indoors? Fear of abduction is a big one, followed by worries about kids getting hit by cars and bullies, surveys have found.
Those fears have created legions of overprotective parents rearing "wimps" who are unable to cope with the ups and downs of life because they have no experience doing so, said Hara Estroff Marano, the New York-based author of the book A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting.
"The home of the brave has given way to the home of the fearful, the entitled, the risk averse, and the narcissistic," Marano said. "Today's young, at least in the middle class and upper class, are psychologically fragile," Marano said in an interview published in the journal.
Hovering parents, these researchers said, also deprive their children of something else -- joy. One survey found that 89 percent of children preferred outdoor play with friends to watching TV.
"Parents have to remember that childhood is this special time. You only get it once, and you don't want to miss it," LaFreniere said. "Mixing it up with other kids in an unrestrained manner isn't just fun. It isn't a luxury. It's part of nature's plan."
Copyright © 2011 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
Positive School Climate
Bully” and “BULLYING” are OUT!!!
“Mean” is a better term/concept
•No one knows what “bullying” looks, feels, sounds like.
-We miss what is right under our noses.
•Everyone knows what “mean” looks, feels, sounds like.
–If “mean” is the standard, then we are much more likely to help make it safer.
•“If it’s mean…intervene!”
What can parents do to help support a safe school climate?
•Model positive behaviors at home and in the community.
•Examine and self-reflect on your own personal biases.
•Communicate clear expectations with your child.
•Identify at least one adult at home, school or in the community your child “trusts” to tell when something is wrong.
•Role play with your child how to develop effective and appropriate social skills.
•Communicate that you will not take away their computer, iphone, etc. if they tell you about a problem.
•Explain the difference between a “tattle-tale or snitch” and a “problem solver.”
Communicate concerns with the school ASAP