Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Snapshots from Division 7

Ms. Solecki's grade one class has been busy this fall both inside and outside the classroom. To showcase what her students have been up to, Ms. Solecki has kindly shared some fun snapshots of their learning adventures.  

In the second week of October, the class took a trek through Francis King Regional Park to learn about squirrels. This Capital Regional District program, which was made possible in part through PAC funding, included a comedic puppet show starring a country squirrel curious about city life and a hike through the woods to imagine life as a critter of the forest. The world truly is a classroom!

Back at the school, Ms. Solecki's students have been busy this fall putting thoughts and ideas to paper. Here they are creating entries in their journals.

Morning attendance is fun when students get to answer a question with their magnetic name when they arrive in the morning.

The wheels on the learning bus go A-B-C all through the town...

Class parents have been coming in for morning reading time. Moms and dads are welcome to stay after school drop-off to explore stories with the kids and share in the joy of reading together.

Since no fall would be complete without spiders, Ms. Solecki arranged for a scientist to come in and discuss spiders with her students. The exciting event included shaking "hands" with a live tarantula!

Thank you, Ms. Solecki, for sharing your snapshots with the PAC and for giving us a glimpse of the learning going on in Division 7!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

What is Sensory Regulation?

You may have heard the term "self-regulation" or "sensory regulation" and wondered what it's all about. Vic West Elementary Counsellor, Dianne Browne, kindly prepared the following information for the PAC to share with school parents.


“Self-regulation” is a psychological concept based largely on the developmental research and teachings of York University professor Stuart Shanker. He refers to children needing to be able to effectively manage (regulate) their own environmental, physiological, emotional, cognitive and social stresses. A medical Sensory Processing Disorder (also referred to as Sensory Integration Disorder) effects how children manage their motor, language and emotional responses. These children will show extremely strong sensory preferences, intolerances and sensitivities. What this “looks like” in the school setting is seeing particular students reacting in one of three ways*: 

  • being over-responsive (becoming fearful or avoidant:  unable to focus, follow directions, transition well, or remain still when the environment has too many distractions);   under-responsive (seeking stimulation in the area of sensation that fails to register with them). 
  • having motor problems, including gross motor skills, with poor body awareness; 
  • being unable to recognize similarities and differences in sensory messages (low frustration tolerance). 

Vic West parents can support their child who is suspected of having self-regulation difficulties by having the child evaluated by either a paediatrician or an occupational therapist who will determine what type of treatment would be most effective. To support all children regulate their stressors, the following Restitution (5 Needs) ideas would be very helpful:  

  • safety: talk with your child about how to keep the home a safe, caring, welcoming place (calm home environment)
  • freedom: give your child choices about how to relax, make good choices, before going to busy places, ie being in the car, at the mall (physiological/body stressors)
  • belonging: protect an introverted child from being pushed into large groups before he or she is prepared;  provide boundaries when an extroverted child is excited about joining large groups, ie family gatherings (social stressors)
  • power: “catch your child being good”, by modeling good thinking/planning strategies (cognitive stressors)
  • fun: limit your child’s activities/day stressors that raise levels of excitement by including shared rewards in your parenting style ie. have your child experience fun, happy activities with you, such as day end bedtime stories (emotional stressors)  

(*see Miller. L.J. 2006: “Sensational Kids”, New York:  G.P. Putnam’s Sons Publ.) 

Feel free to contact Dianne Browne, Vic West’s Behaviour Support Counsellor, for more ideas!  

Vic West Elementary School Safety Plan

I think it's safe to say, that when it comes to our children, safety is at the forefront of our minds.  When our children head off to school each day, we want to know that the school is ensuring their safety while they are in the school's care. 

Vic West has a Safety Plan that is posted on the school's website  ( Vic West Elementary School ).

Below is the Safety Plan link, in case you haven't seen it before. 
Vic West Elementary School Safety Plan

Any questions or comments? Please send us an email at vicwestpac@gmail.com