Learning beyond the classroom - Mid-Pacific Institute

Elementary School Principal's Blog

Learning beyond the classroom

Posted on October 11, 2007

by Dr. Edna Hussey on October 11, 2007

Dear Parents of Mid-Pacific Institute,

Busy week of excursions! The preschoolers and kindergartners have visited Aloun Farms to select their pumpkins for carving at Halloween. Our multiage 1-2 students had fascinating visits to the Waikiki Aquarium, and today’s class saw two Hawaiian monk seals sunbathing right on the beach beside the aquarium! Thank you to our parents who’ve volunteered to assist the faculty with supervision. The fifth and sixth grade students joined together in a campus clean-up project. And the preschoolers trek down to Scudder Dining Hall on Friday morning for a behind-the-scenes look at how school lunch is prepared every day. Next week, international storyteller Lyn Ford, will be sharing her craft with the preschool and elementary.  

As I write this week’s letter, it’s just two days before MPI’s annual Moon Over Manoa silent auction and dinner on Saturday, October 13, at the Royal Hawaiian Monarch Room. Besides an elegant sit-down dinner and entertainment that includes our very own MPI Choir and high school hula halau, there will be baskets filled with fine items and a variety of other items for bid.  All proceeds of this event will go to capital projects on the campus. I am so proud and grateful for the overwhelming support from the preschool and elementary school parents. Several of our parents have served in leadership roles on committees, and all of the basket items have been donated because of your generosity.  I hope to see many of you this Saturday evening.

The `Ohana-sponsored Parents-as-Partners session by Kathy Bentley — “Communicating with Your Child” — was well attended by parents from preschool through fifth grade. Communication challenges between parent and child aren’t confined to an age group!  Although I was in and out of the Dining Room overseeing child supervision, I did manage to pick up on three of many suggestions that the presenter shared —
•  be honest with your child without having to divulge information inappropriate to your child. For example, if your child picks up a phone call for you, which you’d prefer not to answer, don’t tell your child to tell the caller you’re not home.  This sends mixed messages to your child. Handle the phone call yourself or rely on caller I.D.!  
•  it’s OK to sometimes get angry with your child.  If you know you’ve said or done something in anger, tell your child that you’re sorry for your emotional outburst — e.g.,  “I’m sorry I yelled at you like that. I was feeling stressed and worried about your safety.” Kathy says children need to learn from their parents how to apologize and express regret.
•  Direct your child to complete or assist with a chore rather than ask a question. Do not use “Could you, …Will you …” or punctuate your request with “OK?” because the question invites a response, which could be “No!” If you want your child to pick up their toys, say “Natalie, please pick up your toys” in a low, modulated voice.

We’re considering a follow-up session with Kathy Bentley on how to discipline children.  Look for information in a week or so.  

The students in just about every grade level are deep into their inquiry topics of study — animals, communities, Native American Indians, the Manoa ahapua`a, native birds, etc. Marcia Kemble, the MPI librarian, met with the teachers on Wednesday afternoon to talk about an excellent information database paid for the MPI library and intended for use by MPI students and their families. Look for the flyer, “The MPI Library’s Online Subscription Databases for Elementary School” in today’s packet, which indicates the user ID and password. Please note a typographical error in the URL.  It should read: http://search.ebscohost.com. This database holds mostly journal articles, and reading levels are indicated.  The most recent published articles are listed first. The teachers are excited about introducing this database in the classroom, and you can also access the database at home. There are also two versions of World Book Encyclopedia suitable for upper and lower elementary grades. Again, please be considerate of our request that access to EBSCO be limited to MPI students and families.

Enclosed in the Thursday packet is a parent survey from the Department of Health regarding the School-based Influenza Vaccination Program. All students who submitted the DOH form will be vaccinated on Wednesday, October 17, 8:00-9:00am, in Scudder Dining Hall. I ask that ALL parents, whether or not your child has been vaccinated, should complete the survey and put it in the mail (postage-paid survey). Your feedback will help the Department of Health better determine student eligibility for the federal Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. If you have any questions, contact Carl Chu, PharmD, at 586-8329, or send an email to carl.chu@doh.hawaii.gov.  

I’ll have more details about Spooktivity in next week’s letter. Enjoy the weekend with your family. Blue Angels to soar in Kane`ohe skies!

For our children,

Edna L. Hussey