A resource for students, families, educators and the community
Welcome to the Public Schools of Brookline for School Year 2020-2021!
This site is intended as a resource for information sharing and will actively be updated and maintained during the coming weeks and months.
Helping your Child set up a Home Learning Space
Prepared by the Runkle Guidance team
PSB Remote Learning Tips
Managing Student Frustration During Remote Learning
Any student or staff that is returning to in-person settings must follow these guidelines:
Masks/face coverings must be worn by all students and staff
Six (6) feet of physical distancing must be maintained by students and staff at all times
All required immunizations and physical examinations must be current and accurate
All contact information must be current and accurate
PSB staff will enforce other local and state COVID-19 guidelines and procedures as needed
Wellness Tips (each week a tip is also shared with the PSB community)
(shared with PSB 09.29.20) To fuel your child’s body and mind during remote learning, pack a nutritious lunch and snacks for your child in the morning, just as you would if they were going to school in person. This will maintain familiar school routines and help your child to eat independently if you are busy when your child has a snack or lunch break.
Parents often neglect their own wellbeing in stressful times, but protecting short periods of time to manage your emotions allows you to care for others. When you feel sad or exhausted, try to build energy: spend time outdoors, listen to an upbeat song, complete a small task and celebrate that progress. When you feel stress or worry, try soothing activities like meditation, playing with a pet, reading for pleasure, and surrounding yourself with calming scents.
(shared with PSB 10.12.20) Power down early! To restore healthy sleep habits, make the bedroom a screen-free zone, and have everyone in the family turn off devices an hour before bedtime. If this is not possible, have your children keep a lamp on when using a phone or tablet in bed. Studies show that children have insufficient and poor sleep when they use screens close to bedtime, especially in darkness.
(shared with PSB 11.09.20) Often, the tools and techniques we use to help us relax and ‘take down the volume’ (going for a walk or run, taking an exercise class, listening to music, talking to a friend, being by ourselves) aren’t possible or don’t work in situations when we need them most. If you’re helping your child with remote learning at the same time you’re on a work call, you can’t go for a run or turn on your favorite music. Instead:
Try a few of the breathing exercises listed on 10/5
Do a couple of body stretches
shake out your hands, arms, legs to release tension,
Consciously release your jaw
Literally shift your focus: If you’re feeling stressed, turn away from whatever you’re doing (computer screen, your child or partner) if only for a couple of seconds, and shift your gaze. This can be enough to disrupt the cycle
Take one task at a time as much as possible to avoid overwhelm, knowing that sometimes we need to power through difficult situations in the best ways we can.
BREATHING TECHNIQUES (shared with PSB 10.05.20): Certain types of breathing can help calm your nervous system and activate your parasympathetic nervous system. Try practicing ONE breathing technique with your children at home ONCE A DAY. It's good to practice these when calm. Here are some to try out:
ELEVATOR BREATH = breathing in as you raise your arm above your head and out as you bring your arm down, slowing the speed of the ‘elevator’ each time.
2X BREATH = Breathe IN for 2 counts, OUT for 4.
Then IN for 3, OUT for 6,
Then IN for 4, OUT for 8.
See how long you can make your out-breath extend while counting.
5 FINGER BREATHING/STARFISH HAND = Hold one hand hand out with your fingers spread. Breath in as you trace one finger UP with your opposite hand, breath out as you trace it back down. Repeat for all 5 fingers, as if you’re tracing your entire hand. You can do this on both hands and you can have your child trace a parent’s hands and you can trace theirs.
WORD FOCUSED BREATHING = Pick a relaxing focus word, name of a place, piece of a phrase, prayer or mantra, and use that to help focus your breathing. Take a slow breath as you repeat the word(s) on the inhale, and on the exhale.
BOX BREATHING = Breath in as you trace your finger up one side of an imaginary box, breath out as you go across one side, IN as you go down one side, OUT as you go across. Tracing 4 lines of a box. Repeat and slow the speed of your finger and breath.
HOT vs. COLD COGNITION: Just helpful to keep in mind as we are all trying to make this new type of learning the best it can possibly be. "Hot" processes that are emotional and reactive develop early in life but the "cold" processes like executive functioning skills that are reflective and involve planning and restraint of emotion don't develop until much later and improve gradually. Sitting still at home and attending to zoom is part of this emotional regulation piece. There is a limit to what is possible with each age.
CALMING SPACE (shared with PSB 11.02.20): If possible, create a calming space in your home where your child knows they can go when upset and in need of an activity that can calm them down. Some ideas are drawing art (drawing their emotions), playing with something sensory and tactile like a squishy ball, looking at a sparkle jar or listening to calming music.
5 SENSES (shared with PSB 10.19.20): Take a 2 minute break when stressed to try practicing this 5 SENSES GAME. See if you can label and name:
1) as many things you can SEE (in 20 sec). - Big and small, high + low
2) as many things you can HEAR (20 sec). - loudest and softest
3) as many things you can FEEL (20 sec)- most prevalent + most subtle
4) things you can SMELL. (20 sec).
5) things you can TASTE (20 sec)
Try with eyes open and also with eyes closed.
Community / After School
To support children in building community, consider starting in the classroom. Room parents can work together to lead activities designed to promote community amongst students, parents and those in need by participating in activities that serve the great good
Blankets for Those in Need - As the cold weather sets in, our Brookline homeless community will become increasingly exposed to our harsh winter climate. Room parents can help their class organize a blanket making party. Every child can purchase and bring their own supplies to create simple knotted fleece blankets. Students can gather in a local park and make their blankets together while maintaining social distance. Parents can use this opportunity to help ground students in the topic of homeless and what they can do to help. The blankets made by students can later be donated to a nearby shelter serving those in need.
Care Packages - There are many students in the school community in need of both school and other basic supplies. Room parents can support their child’s class by hosting a drive to collect the necessary supplies to be given out anonymously through the schools’ guidance counselors. Supplies can be packed in backpacks and can include: Toothbrushes, toothpaste, snacks, pencil, books, markers, etc.
Winter Drive - Clean Out - Encourage students to work with their families to clean out their gently used winter gear. These items can be brought to a central location and sorted by students, for distribution to families in need. Items may include: winter coats, pants, gloves, hats, boots etc. Students can also write friendly notes to whom the items may end up getting donated to, expressing their joy that someone else will create new memories with the same gear.
PenPals - Whatever happened to good old fashioned writing of letters? Work with classroom teachers to assign each child a class penpal. Each penpal will be required to write a note sharing what they respect and appreciate most about their penpal. These notes are meant to be words of encouragement, and an opportunity for each student to acknowledge their peer. Each classroom teacher can decide how to distribute the letters e.g., place them on the desks of each student before they enter the classroom in the morning. Having the teacher pair up students will avoid students picking their closest friends, opening them up to new friendships. Parents can help teachers by creating a graphic organizer for letter writing that can be given to the students.
Creating Art Kits for Our Friends - Like Pen Pals, this would be a way to make connections between students. Most significantly, this could be an activity to restore a sense of community in different tracks at the same school: Hybrid, RLA and First to Return and help families in need at the same time. Art teachers could lead an in-person project for kids returning to school in hybrid (where art supplies are plentiful) where students would assemble art supply kits for their RLA community members. In addition to assembling the supplies, in-person students could illustrate personal cards, bearing messages for older students, such as: “Welcome to Art!” This could be perhaps the first art activity, for students going back into buildings. The kits would then be sanitized by staff and put into bags or containers, which then would be given to guidance counselors and district staff to identify RLA student recipients and children in need to receive the kits.