MACS has heart

Mrs. Dagianis, social emotional learning



Knowledge is power…to keep our kids safe

An unfortunate but necessary conversation we have to have with our children is about how they can stay safe around people they don’t know. “Stranger danger” is a very real concern for our families these days and you really just never know. So the best strategy is to be preventative and empower our children with the information they need to be smart and stay safe.

Today in guidance we took the first portion of class to discuss:

  • Who are strangers? (People we don’t know)
  • How do movies or shows portray them? (Scary, ugly, dark clothing, villains)
  • What do they really look like? (Normal everyday people)
  • Who are “safe strangers”? (Police, and other first responders, employees at shops)
  • How to recognize and handle a dangerous situation and other strategies to keep ourselves safe. A grown-up should never be asking a child for help! A grown up should ask another grown up for help. 
  • “No, Go, Yell, Tell.” – The students offered strategies to avoid several potential dangerous scenarios and put into practice our new saying.

The conversations took place at an appropriate developmental level for each grade, however, across the board I was impressed at how aware and informed our student body was about the topic. So kudos to you grown ups for having these conversations and empowering your child(ren) to be safe!

*One of the best strategies for unexpected pick up situations I learned from a student today:) Make up a code word or phrase with your family. In case of an emergency where you might have to ask someone new to pick up your child from a friends house or event, your child can ask for the secret code and be reassured that this person was sent by you.

Needless to say, the most important part in all of this is your role as the parent…

  • Know where your children are at all times. Make it a rule that your children must ask permission or check in with you before going anywhere. Give your children your work and cell phone numbers so they can reach you at all times.
  • Point out safe places. Show your children safe places to play, safe roads and paths to take, and safe places to go if there’s trouble.
  • Teach children to trust their instincts. Explain that if they ever feel scared or uncomfortable, they should get away as fast as they can and tell an adult. Tell them that sometimes adults they know may make them feel uncomfortable, and they should still get away as fast as possible and tell another adult what happened. Reassure children that you will help them when they need it.
  • Teach your children to be assertive. Make sure they know that it’s okay to say no to an adult and to run away from adults in dangerous situations.
  • Encourage your children to play with others. There’s safety in numbers!

Here is a link to the National Crime Prevention Council’s page and discussion on “What to Teach Kids About Strangers”… Most of our discussion stemmed from the questions and scenarios found in this one page article.

Another great article: Does your family know these 6 stranger danger rules?


What questions do you ask after school?

Back-to-school is well under way and I am curious…How are your after school conversations going? Still getting the same old vague interactions and responses?

“How was school?” Followed by “Fine”, “Great”, etc…. One word, no details and your left wondering…Have they done nothing all day?

Trust me, I’m there all day and I know the work; socially, emotionally, and academically that is taking place. It’s incredible really, but how do we get our students to reflect and have pride and ownership of this information?

By asking these three questions you will challenge, engage & connect on a whole new level and may be in disbelief of the conversations that ensue…

  1. How were you brave today?

  2. How were you kind today?

  3. How did you persevere or problem solve after a challenge or failure today?

By asking how your student was brave you are showing interest to know where they took risks. They are sharing moments of strength and confidence and should be proud of that. Any area of the day provides an opportunity for bravery. Maybe they raised their hand to offer an answer, talked to a new friend, or attempted a new concept or skill. 

By asking how your student was kind, you are showing them that compassion for others is important and they should reflect on those moments. They will be sharing moments of empathy with their peers where they connected positively. Kindness matters and it should be highlighted in our conversations with our students. 

By asking how you failed today, you are reminding them that failure and mistakes are opportunities to learn. You are showing them a growth mindset by asking them to look forward through a challenge to the point where they were problem solving and trying a new way through. 

I was inspired by a Huffington post article and was in disbelief when my 3-year-old even responded that she was brave today when we said goodbye at preschool in the morning. Amazing, I dare you to experience the power of intentional conversation with your children. They are developing exponentially and we have to keep up with them by asking the right questions.



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