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Social Inclusion Archives from 2007 -08

 

‘Social Inclusion Corner’ #1

 

I have often wondered, “What do the teachers & administrative folks do on those ‘in-service’ days?” Well this past Monday & Tuesday I got to experience first hand how diligent & hard working they are. I attended with them a workshop lead by Kim John Payne who is working with our school to achieve “Justice without Blame” using the “Social Inclusion” approach. The training continued for the Social Inclusion Coordinating Group (SICG) through Thursday!  We are looking deeply into the social dynamic of bullying, teasing & exclusion, to cultivate growth through conflict; which is not the absence of peace, but the beginning of it. Intense social encounters have become one of the new rites of passage, therefore it becomes crucial that conflict is not avoided but channeled. The nature of these encounters can be guided with consciousness & wisdom to bring healing & wholeness. From the implicit actions of authentic adult imitation, healing story, art, drama (movement, puppetry, games) & class & family habit, to the explicit, where the Student Social Action Committee (SAC) made up of H. S. volunteers,  work with the younger students to create change plans, support circles, social coaching, simple no blame meetings, goals achievement cards, or mediations. We learned that simple things like politeness & courtesy; employing the “put down diet” where diss-ing is discouraged; increases perspective, empathy, & impulse control.

 

“What brings us together is karma, the operative forces of the past.

Once we meet, it is up to us, this is no longer to karma!

There are not fated consequences;

everything depends on our own ingenuity

as to what happens next.”

Rudolf Steiner – Karma Lectures Vol. 5 

 

SICG members: Frances Vig – Faculty, Dean Husseini – faculty, Christine Culbert - Faculty, Lisa Payton –Administration, & parent representatives, Melyssa Wergin-Reesh, Martha Arnett, Julie Scher Nebel,

Hazel Lucchesi-Ginsberg; are in the process of developing a mandate of Social Inclusion for our school in our weekly meetings. We will be having phone conferences with Mr. Payne monthly; & he will return for more training over the next two years.SAC members will begin researching & writing a “code of Compassion”, & a school definition of bullying, teasing & exclusion.

 

“The healthy social life is found

when in the mirror of each human soul

the whole community finds its reflection,

and when in the community

the virtue of each one is living.

Rudolf Steiner – The Social Motto

 

Watch for more updates at the ‘Social Inclusion Corner’ in upcoming bulletins,

as we continue to manifest this powerful tool of transformation.

- Hazel Lucchesi-Ginsberg SICG parent member

 

 Social Inclusion Corner - Simple things we can do at home:

For a child, bringing awareness to the idea that there can be many different ways of addressing or approaching an issue or activity, is key to social intelligence. This week’s example is a good tool for building perspective. ‘Preview’ – (invaluable especially with children that can display anticipatory anxiety around transitions) Run through what is coming up in the week. Make a calendar together where younger children draw pictures of what’s to come. For the very young, light a different colored candle arranged in a row, for everyday of the week. A ribbon can be placed at the base of a candle when something special is coming up. For older children & teens, have them list their activities & appointments in a family calendar. Every morning go over the day’s agenda. Discuss what may be hard? What you look forward to? Use a quick short term preview right before tackling something hard to help prepare them. Before a game get the teams to plan a strategy. Anticipate any ‘hot spots’ & work out a plan of what can be done. (Next week: Review processes) ~Hazel Lucchesi-Ginsberg SICG parent member

 

 Social Inclusion Corner - Simple things we can do at home part 2:

Last week we looked at how ‘Previewing’ upcoming events can help build social intelligence by giving perspective. The follow up process is ‘Review’. Pick a day & time that works for everyone for a long term review, such as every Friday evening during desert. To get things rolling you may want to start with “The funniest thing that happened this week was…” For a medium term review, you might ask, “What was the best/hardest thing that happened today? Telling a story from your own experience is a great way to break the ice. For the short term review, go over what worked well right after an activity, what did not? A great way to inspire children to open up & tell their stories, & learn to be able to perceive the cause & effect of their actions, is to make a game of it. Using drama, storytelling or puppetry, create alternative endings for stories. Tell or act out a story to the end. Then discuss with them one aspect of the story that could be changed. Next ask them to write, act or tell what the ending will be now. Another angle would be to tell a simple story but leave out a few key scenes before the end. Now skip ahead & tell the ending. The children have to then write, act or discuss what happened to bring about such an ending. This can be repeated several times with the same story, only each time the teller changes the ending & the children have to guess what happened in each situation to bring about such a conclusion. Teaching us that in the game of life “the concept of effect calls up that of cause” Rudolf Steiner

~Hazel Lucchesi-Ginsberg SICG parent member

 

Social Inclusion Corner

Interrupting anti-social language is the key to preventing an escalation into bullying. Because only one out of every ten put downs is actually witnessed by adults, it’s important to speak up when the opportunity presents itself. Here is an everyday tool for working with arguments & put downs. Disapprove–Affirm–Discover–Do-Over (DADD)

First…Disapprove – Begin by expressing clear disapproval for the action: “It is hurtful to behave as you did.” “We don’t speak that way in our family.” Speak with directness. Mean it.

And…Affirm – It is always best to separate a child’s actions from her whole being. To achieve this, disapproval needs to be followed up right away by an affirmation: “You hardly ever speak like that.” “So often you say helpful things.” Then…Discover – What are the issues behind the actions. “What’s up?” “Something must be bothering you.” For younger children: “It looked like you were frustrated when you said that.” These questions must come at the right time to get an honest response.*

Finally…Do-Over: When the issue is clarified - “Let’s work out a way to say what you need without being hurtful.” ‘You’ll need to apologize for the words you used, then perhaps your friend will be able to hear what it is bothering you.” In this way we honor everyone’s needs, while acknowledging responsibly toward others. *Timing is very important in the practice of DADD. Considering the temperament of the child can help. The Choleric needs to be spoken to away from friends & usually after she has calmed down. Key words: Defer, Deflect, until you can be Direct. The Melancholic needs to be spoken to with an understanding of the vulnerability they often experience. Key words: Safety, Empathy, with quiet Accountability. The Phlegmatic can be very stubborn if she feels her side has not been heard. Don’t take them by surprise. Let them know for example that when you get home you will want to understand why they are speaking in that way. Key words: Fairness & Timing. The Sanguine needs to be tackled right then & there. If you don’t, she will wonder what all the fuss is about ten minutes later. Key words: Implications of Actions. It is tricky to determine the child’s temperament, especially when they are very young. Try asking, “Which temperament is my child least like.” This tool can be used to deal with a simple clash between children, or it can be used over the space of days when the issue is more complex. In practicing DADD you will be able to intervene with quiet confidence without seeming to be on anybody’s ‘side.’ ~Hazel Lucchesi-Ginsberg, SICG parent member

 

Social Inclusion Corner:

If we are to ask the children & teens around us to change the way they act & speak to each other, we must be willing to explore & shift our own social behavior. “The Adult Put Down Diet” is a path that can lead us to becoming a more authentic adult & role model. As Gandhi put it: “We must become the change we wish to see.” Changing the way we think, feel & act is only achieved in small steps & this “Put Down Elimination Diet” is arranged to make this possible. Begin with Right Intention. This process has three steps. Each step relates to aspects of the “Eight-Fold Path”, a foundation of Buddhism, gleaned from Steiner’s ‘Knowledge of Higher Worlds’. These steps are done consecutively over three weeks. Week One- Right Speech: Become very conscious of the put downs you use. This includes gossip & both verbal & body language put downs (eye rolling etc…).

Be thoughtful; say only what has sense & meaning. If something hurtful is said, don’t be afraid to apologize & reframe your words. Week two- Right Mindfulness: Continue the work of week one with the addition of refraining from approving, disapproving or judging. This cultivates the habit of forming opinions that humanize rather then de-humanize. Week three- Right Action: Try to intercede & shift the conversation. The DADD strategy: Disapprove & Affirm, Discover & Do-Over is a good method. Each night, for the whole three weeks, reflect on your progress. Try to do this in a self forgiving way; exploring: A) What was bothering you at the time. B) How you might do it differently next time. C) What you observed in others, in a non critical way. When we resolve to make non-violent, authentic communication a part of our daily lives, we become the change we seek. It is extraordinarily powerful when we do our part in creating a community of consciousness. Our children feel safe yet challenged to grow. All through this process of growth & change we must be willing to look at our own social habits, striving always to be worthy of imitation.

~Hazel Lucchesi-Ginsberg SICG parent member

 

Bullying Facts:

 
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Bullying occurs in school playgrounds every 7 minutes & once every 25 minutes in class.

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Bullying stops in less then 10 seconds 57% of the time when peers intervene; however 85% of the time no one intervenes. In playground observations, peers intervened in significantly more episodes than adults did.

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Boys report more physical forms of bullying; girls tend to bully in indirect ways, such as gossiping & excluding.

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86% of bullying episodes occur in the context of a peer group.

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Targets often keep their problems a secret. Bullying is often hidden from teachers.

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Boys who bully are usually physically stronger than those they target, but girls who bully tend to be physically weaker.

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Those targeted often report low self-esteem, (usually due to repeated exposure to bullying, teasing or exclusion)

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Both boys & girls, who are targeted, report symptoms of depression, such as sadness & loss of interest in activities.

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Younger students experience more direct bullying, whereas older students experience more indirect bullying.

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Bullying, teasing & exclusion, top the list of troubles at school, according to recent nation wide surveys.

 

“Courage is fire & bullying is smoke” - Benjamin Disraeli

 

~Hazel Lucchesi-Ginsberg SICG parent member

 

 

‘Social Inclusion Corner’ - Strategies for Building Agreement

 

One way to look at mediating agreements is like a sculptor looking at a block of wood. The wood may seem uncompromising & formless at first, but the sculptor knows that inside the wood there is a work of art; balanced, harmonious, beautiful, waiting to come forth. It is the job of the mediator to help smooth the rough edges & chip away at the hard angry feelings within those having conflict so that a fair agreement can be reached. Here are a few tools: 1) Separate the issues from the personalities. Although they may complain about not liking someone, etc. find out what’s behind the conflict. 2) Separate the needs from the positions. Bringing focus on the true needs of the individuals will help soften a hard line position or opinion. 3) Ask each person what they could change or do to help resolve the situation. This prevents blaming & empowers them to take responsibility. 4) Develop trade-offs – “I’ll do this if you do that”. 5) Use ‘What if’ questions. Once you have found a trade-off that you think may work, this can be one of the easiest ways of phrasing a compromise. 6) Be the ‘agent of reality’ speaking honestly about the consequences of actions. 7) Remind them that it’s ok to agree to disagree. This takes the pressure off. 8) Offer possible solutions by asking questions. “Have you ever thought about…? Or “Sometimes in the past people have resolved this type of situation by…” “Do you think that would work here? 9) Sum things up. How could you handle this situation differently in the future? Building agreement is like any work of art. It takes patience in the process, & trust, that harmony thru conflict can bring forth healing, growth & the beauty of balance. ~Hazel Lucchesi-Ginsberg -SICG parent member

 

 

Social Inclusion Corner

 

“It is certainly clear to anybody who keeps up with the way civilization and culture are presently developing that the times themselves demand the deepening of knowledge, the ethical practice, the inner religious life, and an awakening to community” ~ Rudolph Steiner

 

The Social Inclusion Coordinating Group (SICG) is in full swing. Two new faulty members have joined the team, Andrea Shaffer & Harper Neilson. A few new parent members will also be adding to the effort & will be announced soon. Faulty members meet weekly & at this time are working out the logistics in building the student team. The full group gathers monthly, putting the finishing touches on the Mandate. Parent members plan to brainstorm with administrator Luke Goodwin & to work with the PTO & Diversity group to bring education & enrichment to the parent community. For general Social Inclusion questions email Hazel. For crisis questions contact Andrea. To review the Social Inclusion archives click here

~Hazel Lucchesi-Ginsberg SICG parent member

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(H.A.G. by: AJ PONTARE)

 

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