On behalf of Champlain’s faculty and staff, I would like to wish everyone a wonderful New Year, full of happiness and good health for every family! May 2018 inspire us to go the extra mile in caring for the children we love. May 2018 also provide new energy to take care of ourselves and live up to our resolutions to feel better every day.
Sometimes New Year’s resolutions may seem corny, but, second only to one’s birthday, there’s no better date that to start something new and well. For years my family laughed at me for declaring resolutions and watching me stumble through the year. This holiday my now-grown-up kids shared their resolutions without irony. My resolution is, “kindness first and always.”
Parents Magazine, PBS Parents, and psychology organizations encourage parents to model New Year’s resolutions with their children annually. This allows family members to reflect together on the highs and lows of the year and choose areas where they personally want to grow:
- The younger the children, the simpler the resolution. Resolutions for early grades may include brushing and flossing daily, finishing their dinner, cleaning one’s room, or caring for pets.
- For older elementary grades, children might decide to drink more water, try a new sports or arts activity, eat fewer sweets, offer to help around the house, be kind to siblings and classmates, and of course, try one’s very best in school.
- Whatever chosen, take the moment to write these down and hang them up in a high-traffic area, perhaps on the refrigerator door. Parents/guardians make the best role models, and setting and discussing progress on resolutions are helpful reminders. Anytime parents see children fulfilling their resolutions, it’s time to give a big compliment on their diligence and integrity.
Family is the basis of children’s development, and choosing New Year’s resolutions for the whole family can be especially powerful. Since these goals would be the most noticeable to reach, don’t pick more than three and make sure all are attainable. Some examples might be:
- Take a family walk together at least once a week.
- Cook together at least twice a month.
- Teach something new to each other, from growing vocabulary or scrambling an egg to a practicing a new handshake or exercise move.
In “Making New Year’s Resolutions with Your Child,” Dr. Kathleen Clarke-Pearson states, “You don’t penalize if you don’t fulfill a resolution… The resolution is not written in stone. It’s a guide.” Another resource suggests that parents and children draw progress charts to check on meeting the goal and revisit its purpose. If resolutions haven’t previously been part of a family’s practice, the fifth of January, and in fact anytime, is just as good a time as any to start, except for maybe on a birthday.
Brown, L. L. (2017). Making New Year’s Resolutions with Your Child. PBS Parents. Retrieved from http://www.pbs.org/parents/holidays/making-new-years-resolutions-child/
Walters, L. (2017). How Kids With Learning and Attention Issues Can Set and Stick to New Year’s Goals. Understood. Retrieved from https://www.understood.org/en/family/events-outings/holidays-celebrations/how-kids-with-learning-and-attention-issues-can-set-and-stick-to-new-years-goals
Vermont Adopts the Statewide Physical Assessment
For over twenty years, Vermont has administered statewide exams in major subject areas, in addition to the local assessments given at every local school. In May 2018 our state will pilot a new physical education assessment, the FitnessGram, which will eventually be reported at the local, state, and federal levels, as is student performance in math, reading, and science. For this first year, student performance data will only be made available at the school-district level. According to the Vermont Agency of Education (VT-AOE):
FitnessGram is comprehensive health-related fitness assessment developed by The Cooper Institute for Youth, and is currently the most widely used fitness assessment in the nation. The FitnessGram software includes ActivityGram, a detailed assessment of physical activity that uses the physical activity pyramid as a basis for analyzing personal activity patterns. The principal mission of the FitnessGram/ActivityGram program is to promote lifelong physical activity among youth.
Elementary schools will administer FitnessGram in fourth grade only. Seventh and tenth grades will also be tested. The assessment will measure student achievement in four domains: (1) aerobic capacity, (2) abdominal muscular strength and endurance, (3) upper body muscular strength and endurance, and (4) flexibility. FitnessGram also offers other areas to assess. Individual districts and schools may choose to administer more components, though the VT-AOE will only collect data in these four domains. For each domain, FitnessGram provides assessment options from which schools choose based on their physical education programs and equipment.
Fortunately physical education teacher Tammy Charbonneau knows FitnessGram very well. She says, “Burlington has assessed students with FitnessGram for at least five years. What is new is the expectation and the accountability of testing. The health and fitness of students affects their ability to learn. This new expectation represents, in my opinion, how this knowledge should make a difference in what we do!”
For more information, visit: http://education.vermont.gov/sites/aoe/files/documents/edu-faq-pe-assessment.pdf.