Tiger Care for our Tiger Cubs
Posted Tuesday, October 17, 2017
It is one of the “big three” district goals: Tiger Care. Now, we are taking a look at Tiger Care in action across the district, starting with Loveland Early Childhood Center (LECC), Loveland Primary School (LPS) and Loveland Elementary School (LES).
At LECC and LPS the Tiger Care goal is defined around a similar structure: Strengthen understanding of the concepts and instructional practices around social thinking. October 9, teachers district-wide had a unique opportunity to hear from an internationally recognized proponent of social thinking: Michelle Garcia Winner.
“This was a professional development opportunity that tied directly into our Care goal,” said LECC Principal Kyle Bush. “As defined by Garcia Winner, ‘Social Thinking is what we do when we share space with others’ and at LECC we are teaching strategies in all of our classrooms, preschool through first grade, to develop and strengthen our students' understanding of how other people think and to realize that different communication skills are needed in different circumstances.
“One of the many ways our students are encouraged to practice these skills is on our playground. In particular, we have instituted a Buddy Bench concept, which allows students who are looking for someone to play with to sit on the bench. Students have been educated that when a buddy needs someone to play with, they are encouraged to include them in their activities. And the rule is, if someone invites you to play, you agree to say yes if you're on the Buddy Bench.”
Additionally, LECC students enjoy a whole-class recognition called Tigers of the Week. Each week one class is singled out to be the keepers of the "Tiger Trophy" in their room because of how that class is demonstrating the school's core values of care, respect, and responsibility. And individually, students from each class are honored once a month as Terrific Tigers for their individual contribution to creating a culture of kindness.
“By giving our students the language skills and the opportunities such as this to practice empathy and show support for others, we are sending our students out into the world with strong social cognition, friendship skills, an anti-bullying toolkit, and ways they can respond with help and empathy as appropriate in a given situation,” said Bush.
“We begin the school year by establishing a positive school climate during the first month of school that focuses heavily on showing care as a core value,” said LPS Principal Kevin Fancher. “Throughout the school year, LPS is specifically focusing on building a common language throughout the building. We are incorporating monthly lessons aligned to a strategic scope and sequence for social thinking across all classrooms conducted by Katy Osborn, LPS speech and language pathologist, and Darcie Chandler, LPS school counselor.
“Our goal is to implement a strong Social Thinking curriculum while understanding the why behind this work. All staff members will be able to model and reinforce expected behaviors socially, academically, and behaviorally. Our work will help students see how their ‘social smarts’ impact their ability to learn, grow, and build positive relationships with peers in concrete ways.”
At LES the Tiger Care promise is focused on growing from the foundation LECC and LPS establish with social thinking development. Every LES Tiger will develop leadership skills and have opportunities to both lead and serve others.
A major component to providing this development is participation in the LES Compassion Project. Each month students focus on a nonprofit organization they can serve. In September, the LES Compassion Project focused on collecting donations for hurricane victims. This October students are participating in #Socktober by collecting new socks to be delivered to area shelters before cold weather sets in.
"When students participate in compassion projects, it helps them to develop empathy for others and gives them opportunities to serve others,” said LES Principal Jennifer Forren. “It is amazing to watch the program evolve as the student-understanding develops during their time at LES. They quickly realize that even at the young age of eight, nine or 10 years old, they can make a significant contribution to the betterment of our society."
Additionally, all LES students celebrate recognition through the Terrific Tiger program, and have opportunities to participate in a Kindness Council, a Principal’s Council and an Ambassador Program.
Click here to see #TigerCare in action at Loveland High School.
LECC photo caption: LECC students in need of a buddy during recess use the Buddy Bench as a tool for reaching out to fellow students.
LPS photo caption: Katy Osborn, LPS speech and language pathologist, and Darcie Chandler, LPS school counselor interact with a group of second grade students during a class lesson on social thinking.
LES photo caption: LES students work on Compassion Projects throughout the school year; in September students collected donations for hurricane victims.