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July 23, 2004     Heritage Florida Jewish News
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July 23, 2004
 

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PAGE 2B z By Pamela Goldsmith, M.A LMHC It's hard to believe that in a short while, kids will be headed back to school. Most parents look forward to the beginning of the school year, but the preparation process for going back to school can be overwhelming. The [asks of shopping for school supplies and clothes and planning car- pools can overtake the most important aspect of back-to- school preparation: laying the groundwork for a productive academic year. Now is the time to ensure this school year offers your child the best opportunities for learning. Here is some practical advice to help you maximize your child's chance of success this school year. Organization: Organiza- tion is essential to academic SUCCESS. -Help your child pick out notebooks, stickers, colored bins and containers and assist them in creating a system that is fun, colorful, and personal--and one that they will use. -Designate a spot in the house for backpacks and school papers. -Make sure pens, pencils, paper, scissors, and other supplies are accessible. -Most children are not natural organizers and need your help in setting up and maintaining an organiza- tional system. School performance: Teachers love to teach chil- dren who show up ready and able to learn. In today's edu- cational climate, the teacher's main agenda is to teach the class the material they need to know to pass the FCAT test. Children with learning prob- lems (or children who learn 'outside the box') often take up too much class time. As a result, they do not always re- ceive the attention they need to ensure their success. -If your child struggled through school in previous years and you suspect it may be due to a learning problem, request that the school evalu- ate him or her. Learning dis- abilities often have solutions and your child's school has a responsibility to evaluate and provide an Individualized Education Program (IEP) to every child with learning problems. -Not all performance is- sues are related to a learning disability. -Kids learn at their own pace and it's easy for even the brightest child to be left behind because they are not ready to absorb the material presented to them, or perhaps they work better in a one-to- one situation and feel lost among the other students in their classroom. -If your child had perfor- mance issues last year it's important to begin identify- ing and addressing them long before the school year begins. Look at last year's report cards and identify problem areas. Enroll your child in supplemental program dur- ing the year to help him or her catch up. Central Florida has many fun and interest- ing supplemental academic programs. Many c~hildren fall be- tween the cracks because teachers don't have the time and resources to provide individualized instruction to each student. The task of identifying learningproblems and insuring that they are properly addressed falls on the parent's shoulders more often than not. Other reasons children may underperform at school include a lack of motivation to do well, problems at home or with peers, self-esteem problems, poor work habits or study skills, emotional and behavioral problems, ADHD, problems with the teacher, vision or hearing problems, or medical problems. -It's important to pinpoint the issue and create a treat- ment plan with your child's teacher, guidance counselor, and others involved in his or her education and care. -Get to know your child's teacher and stay involved with his or her School. -Address the issue with the school's administration if you feel that the teacher is not adequately addressing your child's issues, or if there is an unresolved conflict between the teacher and your child. You have a right to request a different teacher if these issues remain unresolved. Behavioral Issues: A fourth grade teacher recently told me that she doesn't have time to care about how her students are feeling. She just wants them to behave and not Routine examinations, glasses & contacts, specialized ophthalmic evaluation, treatment and surgery. of Central Florida Leaders in Pediatric and Adult Eye Care 225 West State Road 434, Suite 111 Longwood, Florida 32750 Phone 407-767-6411 249 Moray Lane Winter Park, Florida 32792 Phone 407-645-4350 www.eyephy.com Our office hours are Mon - Fri, 8AM to 5PM. We provide 24 hour emergency call. Robert S. Gold, M.D. David B. Auerbach, D.O. Louis C. Blumenfeld, M.D. Larry S. Lewis, O.D. disrupt the learning process. Schools focus on behavioral management, not mood mas- tery. Mood mastery refers to a person's ability to soothe him- self or herself in healthy ways. Behavioral issues are often an indication of a child's inability to manage her mood. -If your child exhibited be- havioral problems last year, then you can help by learning more appropriate methods for managing feelings. -If the behavioral problem is recent, look at possible stressors in your child's life. If there has been a recent change at home, such as a divorce or a new sibling, expect that your child is going to act out his or her stressful feelings and may need counseling to help him or her learn to express those feelings in an appropri- ate manner. - You can also talk to your child. Ask open-ended ques- tions about what's going on in their lives. Acknowledge their feelings and let them know that their feelings are okay, but that the behavior they are using to manage the feelings is not. -We often inadvertently send our children the mes- sage that the feeling they are expressing is not okay rather than helping them find a The JCC Maccabi Youth Games will be held August 1-6, in Austin, Tex. The games, better known as the "Jewish Teenage Olympics of North America," aim to fos- ter a strong Jewish identity among all participants. Over 1,000 athletes are expected from Israel, San Francisco, St. Paul, Syracuse, Chicago, Kansas City, Sarasota, Ari- zona and Boca Raton. The Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando is proud of its "Team Orlando" delegation of athletes, par- ents, volunteers and staff, who will be representing Central Florida. Team Orlando, led by Rick Wallsh and Eli Berco- vici, consists of one golfer, Zakary Goldberg, and 10 boys competing in the 16 and under boys' basketball division. Coached by the JCC Basketball coordinator, Dana Penrod, the basketball team consists of Aaron Ludin, Dan- iel Feinberg, Daniel Minkow, Michael Wailsh, Jake Wilkins, Sam Breit, Sam Nebel, Daniel Halperin and Zachary Heller. "The core of this team has been playing basketball to- gether at the JCC since they were in third grade and rep- resented Orlando at the 2002 Maccabi games in Memphis, Tennessee," said Wallsh. Two weeks prior to leav- ing for Austin, Coach Pen- rod conducted a rigorous basketball training camp to whip the players into shape. Exhibition games were also planned against a visiting team from Finland, to give the boys play time against tougher competitors. Although Team Orlando will only be competing in boys' basketball and golf, the Maccabi games include competition in a wide range more appropriate method of handling their feelings. - Help your child come up with healthier alternatives for managing difficult feel- ings and give them positive reinforcement when they exhibit mood mastery. Social Relationships: Some progressive schools are teach- ing children about conflict resolution and how to effec- tively deal with bullies. Many teachers are unaware of what is going on amongst their students in the social milieu. Parents are often disturbed by how children treat one another. The schools do little to encour- age positive peer relationships. They don't have the time to fo- cus on helping students learn the essential skills of making and keeping friends. -The single most important factor in the development of a child's social intelligence is the way he or she is treated at home. -Pay attention to how you speak with and interact with your child. Pay attention to how you allow siblings to treat one another. -Utilize family relation- ships as a tool for teaching conflict resolution, commu- nication, mood mastery and other elements of human interaction. -It's also you get to friends parents. these one another. house a within child's first education he at home is or her school and and most or her life. influence aspect of including ov r~ at school. To and academic child home need parents, school together as Pamela LMHC is a ish Fami Orlando. Jewish ing scale information. I "Team Orlando" prepares to go to Austin! year's Maccabi Youth Games. of sports for both boys and girls, including baseball, Daniel girls' softball, roller hockey, perience soccer and volleyball. Indi- vidual sports include golf, tennis, swimming, table tennis and track and field. In many ways, the Maccabi games are set up like mini- Olympics, with lavish opening and closing ceremonies and medal presentations, was TheAustin games' opening ceremonies promise to have"a q smashing opening ceremony, baby," according to Wallsh. "Ceremonies will take ad- deeds vantage of the Austin Powers community. craze of a few years back and also will include athletes in funky costumes, groovyhigh-ener- Jewish gymusicandcrazydelegation to an Aust photographs flashing on the arena scoreboards." The Or- lando Delegation is slated to enter the arena to the musical accompaniment of a techno militar version of the classic "Hava For more Nagila." the JCC Lance Armstrong, a, na- any of tive of Austin, is scheduled Orlando's to address the athletes at the ness progl ceremonies, as is former Uni- versityofTexas FootballCoach, to phis with "Walking home of Grizzlies waS "The place spot