Elysian Charter School
A Positively Different Public School
March 5, 2018 Vol. 13 Issue 24
The school newsletter is sent out on Mondays. When there is a holiday, the newsletter is sent the following day.
Originally published on ChildMind.org on February 13, 2018
How to Help Anxious Kids in Social Situations
Tips for helping reluctant children join in play and group activities
Debbie Weingarten’s son has been going to the same school for three years, loves his teacher and friends, and has a great time once he’s there. But the five-year-old still struggles with drop-off and often cries when Weingarten leaves. Similarly at soccer — which he enjoys — he gets overwhelmed or upset several times a practice and runs off the field.
For many kids, adjusting to social situations — whether it is a birthday party or a play date — can be challenging, even if they want to be there. Big groups of kids can be intimidating for even the most outgoing child, so for those who are sensitive or prone to anxiety it can make for a rocky transition.
“My son is a highly sensitive person, and it takes him quite a long time to feel comfortable in new situations,” explains Weingarten. “I honestly can’t think of a single new situation that has been easy for him. He’s just not that kind of kid.”
It can be painful to watch your child struggle in should-be-fun settings, but there are a few strategies — paired with a good dose of patience — that experts and fellow parents have found to be helpful.
If difficulty in social situations has become a pattern, it’s important to accept that this is part of your child’s personality, not a deficiency.
“Just because lots of kids like birthday parties, it doesn’t mean that it’s some kind of comment on you or your child if they are more trepidatious,” says Rachel Busman, a clinical psychologist at the Anxiety Disorders Center at the Child Mind Institute. “I think just appreciating that is important, because parents can feel pressure to be like everybody else.”
Weingarten, who also describes herself as sensitive, recalls as a child feeling some of the same feelings her son now has. Still, she admits, “as a parent, I would be lying if I said it wasn’t frustrating for me sometimes.” However, she tries her best not to express that frustration to her son. “I never want him to feel like something is wrong with him, or as though he’s defective in any way, or like his feelings aren’t real or legitimate.”
For Emily Popek, rethinking her perception of fun for her five-year-old was key. “It made a difference to realize that just because she was sitting on the sidelines watching didn’t mean she wasn’t enjoying herself. She actually was! So honestly the key for me was just letting go of my own expectations of what her ‘enjoyment’ would — or should — look like.”
Break it down
Once you’ve established that there’s an issue, the next step, says Dr. Busman, is to “break down the situation so you can try to figure out what might be challenging for your child.” Is it separation? Meeting new kids? Being in a big group? Fear of the unknown? From there you can work on strategies to assist your kid.
Knowledge is power
One of the most effective things you can do is arm your child with as much knowledge as possible about the event. Go over where it will be, who will be there and what might happen. Scripting, role-playing and previewing are all excellent tools for the socially anxious kid.
Kathy Radigan’s son — who is now an outgoing college freshman — was speech delayed as a child, which made him nervous about meeting new kids. “But he really wanted to play with kids,” Radigan recalls.
“We used scripting to help him through those first few nervous moments. We would practice role playing,” she adds. “I would do social stories with him about a boy who went to the park and got nervous when he saw the kids.”
The scripts Radigan rehearsed with her son were simple — things like “Hi, I’m Tom. What do you like to play?” She says this was usually enough to break the ice. Looking back, her son says that those early years of scripting and role-playing were a huge help.
The effect of all this previewing and role playing is to make the activity feel less new and scary, so the child is not as easily overwhelmed when it comes time for the real thing. Although not every aspect can be predictable, getting the general sense can help kids feel much more comfortable.
Baby steps and praise
For kids who get nervous in social situations, it’s unrealistic to think that they’ll be able to just jump right in. They may benefit from arriving early or late, and will need to adjust at their own pace. Many will want to hang back for a while to observe before actively participating.
“I work at giving my daughter time and permission to navigate the experience on her own terms,” explains Popek. “I’ll encourage her to take little steps out of her comfort zone, like starting out watching the other kids, then maybe moving closer, then playing nearby to the kids, then eventually actually playing with them.”
Arriving early to scope things out can be another helpful tactic. “If we are going to a new group or activity,” says Weingarten, “it helps to get there fifteen minutes early so we can enjoy the space without the chaos of other kids and settle in slowly.”
Dr. Busman suggests also being open with other parents about what’s going on. While it might feel awkward, it can be immensely helpful to give them a heads up that you might arrive early or late, for example, not out of rudeness but to help your child acclimate. “Most people are really nice,” reminds Dr. Busman, “and are going to say sure, whatever you need!”
And of course every success — whether it’s sitting on the outskirts of a party or fully engaging — merits praise. It can be something simple like, “I love how you went over and sat down to have a piece of pizza.” As Dr. Busman points out, this is a much better tactic than getting into a power struggle about why they aren’t having a good time.
Find a buddy
Sometimes it can be as simple as finding common ground, or arriving with someone with whom your child is already comfortable. Most people feel more at ease entering new social situations with a partner, so why shouldn’t children?
“A lot of kids will tell me they’ll go to practice for example, but only if they know someone who goes there,” explains Dr. Busman. “Which to me is like, alright, get him in the door. So let’s have a buddy.”
Dawn Alicot’s six-year-old is shy until he gets to know people, and she says “sometimes I ease the transition in a larger group by introducing him to someone. I look for common ground.” For example, finding another kid with similar sneakers, or a favorite character on their shirt. After doing this for a while, Alicot says her son started doing it on his own and has successfully made friends this way.
When to push, and when to cool it
As with so many things in parenting, there are times when it’s appropriate to gently push your child, and others when it’s time to back off. “There has to be a middle path,” says Dr. Busman. “Parents also need to have their own level of stress tolerance,” she says, since these things do take time and a lot of gentle nudging — and may result in the occasional meltdown.
If a child doesn’t want to have play dates, for example, Busman suggests pushing but taking it slow by starting with the neighbor’s kid who is a little younger, having it on home turf or starting with very short intervals.
Weingarten acutely understands the balance between making sure her son feels secure with pushing him ever so gently. “I do think we’re at a point,” she says, “where it’s healthy to nudge him out of the nest a little bit, while also understanding that it’s a process unique to him, and that his pacing will not match other kids.”
Similarly, she knows when it’s time to throw up the white flag and retreat. Weingarten notes that “he can get worked up to the point of having physical symptoms — his socks will suddenly feel too tight, his shoes will hurt, his belly will hurt. I believe these sensations are real manifestations of his stress. I know that once he gets to that point, I need to stop and do something to reverse the situation so he can calm down and feel safe again.”
If your child gets to this point, carrying on can be more detrimental in the long-term than pushing through.
Find your tribe
Don’t forget to take care of yourself, too. When it seems like everyone else’s kid can jump into social situations with ease it can feel isolating and exhausting.
“I recommend finding someone else who understands,” urges Weingarten. “Another parent. Someone who can empathize with the challenges and the blessings of a child who is anxious or highly sensitive. I went to coffee with a mom from my son’s kindergarten who is also having some similar challenges, and it was such a relief just to talk to someone who gets it. We were able to talk about how frustrating it can be, but also how grateful we are to be raising such feelings-oriented little humans in a world that desperately needs sensitivity and empathy.
Meet and Greet the Board Candidates
On Wednesday, March 7, 1:30 PM, parents can come to Room 313 for a Q and A with the Board Candidates.
At 3:00 PM the Board Candidates will meet with the Staff.
Save The Date
Public Charter School Parent Action Day
With a new governor our voices need to be heard. We are currently frozen at the budget that we had in 2008. The more we speak up, the more we can gain!
The New Jersey Charter School Association will be sponsoring Public Charter School Parent Action Day. Please see the information below. If you are interested in attending please let Diane DeSombre (email@example.com) know. She will pass along more information as it becomes available.
What: A Rally to Celebrate Public Charter Schools
When: Monday, March 26th
Where: Trenton- Steps of the State House Annex
Who: Parents, Educators & Supporters
Join us in Trenton to help celebrate the positive role of charter schools in public education. On March 26th, we are bringing together all members of New Jersey’s charter school family to tell lawmakers our story, celebrate the success of our schools and students, and ask for fair funding for ALL schools. Please join us for this day of charter school pride in what our schools and our families have achieved.
Elysian Advisory Grievance Committee
The Board has established an Advisory Grievance Committee consisting of both parents and staff. The purpose of the Grievance Committee is to investigate concerns that arise that cannot be resolved by meetings with the classroom teacher and/or the school administration. The Advisory Grievance Committee will make a non-binding recommendation to the Board of Trustees.
The Advisory Grievance Committee consists of three members, selected by the membership of the Elysian Charter School. At our annual meeting we will be voting on the members of the Grievance Committee. The three candidates are as follows:
-Paul Jung, parent and former Board Member
-Ann Murphy, parent and the Associate Dean of Undergraduate Studies and an Associate Professor of Management at the School of Business at Stevens Institute of Technology
-Angela Dunckley, kindergarten teacher at Elysian
There will be a separate ballot at the March 13th Annual Meeting to elect the members of the Grievance Committee.
Friends of Elysian Auction 2018
Auction/Raffle Tickets: IT’S THE LAST MINUTE!
RAFFLE TICKETS: ONLY TWO DAYS LEFT! (Wednesday, March 7!)
*** We are a little behind this year in terms of returned tickets, so we really need your help to make this a success for Elysian! Half of each ticket sold goes straight to Elysian! Thank you very much!
DEADLINE DETAILS: The final deadline for all advance 50/50 raffle ticket sales is Wednesday, March 7! But tickets will also be sold at the event on Friday, March 9, and the drawing will take place at 9:30 pm at HUB. (You do not have to be present to win.)
TICKET PROCESS: When tickets are sold, please have the buyer fill out the stub with their info, and then turn in those stubs and the payments to your teacher OR Deb or Susan in the office. And please, NO CASH. Please translate to checks payable to “Friends of Elysian Charter School.” (Also, if you receive individual checks from ticket buyers, they should also be written out the same way.) Thank you!
RETURNING TICKETS: We certainly hope that all families will participate, but for anyone unable to sell or purchase all of their raffle tickets, we simply ask that you return any unused tickets to your teacher by Wednesday as well. Thank you!
ONLY 5 DAYS LEFT TO BUY AUCTION TICKETS! DON’T MISS OUT!
ONLINE SALES END FRIDAY, MARCH 9, at 12 NOON.
(After that time, tickets will need to be purchased at the door)
We are “All In” this together, so if you are able, please buy your auction tickets today!
Thank you to everyone who has supported the auction so far by both buying auction tickets and donating auction lots. We really appreciate it!
Also, don’t forget our special $75 price per guest for all Non-Elysian parents/guardians. Please consider reaching out to friends and extended family to join us for an extra special event this year! (And thanks to those who have already done so already.) It’s going to be a great time!
2018 Annual Friends of Elysian Fundraising Party & Auction to benefit the Campaign For Elysian
Friday, March 9 • 7 – 10 pm|
HUB 16 Hudson Place • Hoboken, NJ • 07030
$125 per guest in advance*
$135 per guest at the door
$75 per guest for all Non-Elysian parents/guardians (at the door as well)
* LAST MINUTE SALES DEADLINES:
If at all possible, please don’t wait till the last minute! But just in case, to help facilitate an accurate sign-in process…
• Paying by Check: Check payments can be left at the school up until THE DAY BEFORE, on Thursday, March 8 at 8:30 a.m. Please do not leave anything at the office after Thursday morning. (it won’t be able to be picked up before the event). Thank you!
• Paying Online: Tickets will be available online until Friday, March 9, at 12 Noon. After that time, tickets will need to be purchased at the door.
Meet the Elysian Board Candidates - The PTSO will be hosting a Meet the Candidates Forum THIS Wednesday, March 7, at 1:30 pm in room 313. This forum will allow parents to learn more about the candidates who are running for the board. The Q&A session will begin with a short intro from each candidate and then be opened up for questions.
Grade 3: Tuesdays: 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Grade 4: Green Team: Wednesdays: 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM - OR 1/2 Day 1:45 PM - 2:45 PM
Grade 4: White Team: Fridays: 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Grade 5: Fridays: 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Grade 6: Mondays: 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM (Including Intramural Game)
Grade 8: Thursdays: changed to 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Children waiting for a practice to begin will be able to attend Aftercare at no cost. Any child attending Aftercare must start right at the end of the school day and may not leave the school building and then return.
***Games will be listed in the calendar below***
This Week's Homework Help and Enrichment Clubs
Homework Help - 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Guitar - 3:00 - 4:00 PM
Mosaic - 3:00 - 4:00 PM
Debate - 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Mad Science - 3:00 - 4:00 PM
Dancing with Derrick - 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
*Baking - 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Cancelled 3-6-18*
Anime - 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Dancing with Derrick - 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Wednesdays Wednesdays 1/2 Days
Karate - 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Karate - 12:45 PM - 1:45 PM
Movie Club - 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM Movie Club - 12:45 PM - 1:45 PM
Lego Bricks - 3:00 - 4:00 PM Lego Bricks - 12:45 PM - 1:45 PM
Chess - 3:00 - 4:30 PM Chess - 12:45 PM - 2:15PM
Homework Help - 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Magic Club - 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Gravity - 3:00 - 4:00 PM
Lego Bricks - 3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
* Tuesday Baking Club is cancelled this week 3-6-18
Baking Club Make up 3-13-18 and 3-20-18 will be 1 1/2 hours each
Paper Goods Drive for the Hoboken Shelter
For many years, our school was next door to the Hoboken Homeless Shelter. Over the years, we did many drives on their behalf. They are still in our thoughts, even though we are now uptown. Every year, Jaclyn Cherubini, the director of the Shelter, volunteers her services to help us administer the vote counting for our board candidates during our Annual Meeting. This helps Elysian to ensure community transparency and oversight on one of the most fundamental aspects of public education.
We asked Jaclyn how we could help and she suggested that the Shelter is always in dire need of paper goods. They especially need forks. Rather than having them grapple with assorted sizes of small household size packages, we thought that Elysian could purchase large cases of these supplies through our vendor, Karson Food Service. Here is a list of the cost per case. Anyone choosing to donate funds toward the purchase of goods can write a check to Elysian Charter School (ECS). Please note if there is a specific item you are sponsoring or just for the fund. Please contact Susan.Gilbertson@ecsnj.org with any questions.
Here is a list of case sizes and prices:
9” paper plates – regular – 1000 ct. - $19.85
9” paper plates – pulp (like Chinet) – 500 ct. - $50.88
6” paper plates, small - 1000 ct. - $12.70
Case of plastic cereal bowls – 1000 ct. - $48.94
Case of 5 oz plastic cups – 2500 ct. - $46.75
Case of coffee cups – 8 oz paper 1000 ct. - $56.49
Case of plastic forks – 1000 ct. - $12.24
Case of plastic knives – 1000 ct. - $12.24
Case of plastic soup spoons – 1000 ct. - $12.24
Napkins – 12 units of 500 ct. - $38.39
Case of paper towels – 30 rolls - $48.79
Notes From The Nurses Office
Please be sure that you or your emergency contact may be reached during the day in case your child gets sick at school. We have had several children with a fever and we were unable to reach anyone.
If your child has a fever, or if you think that your child may be getting a fever, please keep your child home. It is uncomfortable for the child to be in school if he/she is not feeling well. It also spreads germs to other children and staff.
Please be sure to call the school if your child is absent. You may leave a message on our answering machine at any time. Our number is 201-876-0102.
If you would like to speak with me, I am available. Call the school phone number 201-876-0102 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Diane DeSombre, RN
There has been a very nice double stroller attached to the handrail in the downstairs lobby for quite a while. f it is yours, please remove it asap.
If it not removed by Wed. March 7, we will cut the lock and give it to charity.
Elysian Collects Box Tops and LABELS for Education
Look for the container near Deb's desk in the office! Thank you!
Lost and Found Update
Items left after the Annual Meeting will be packed up and sent to charity.
If there are any changes in your child's emergency contact information, for example, if you moved to a new address, or have addtional email addresses, or updating your child's pickup information, you must contact the Office@ecsnj.org.
As per state law, we no longer publish the exact location of trips for security reasons.
Please read the calendar weekly, as changes are updated regularly.
Please see above under "This Week's Basketball Practices" for grades, dates and times of practices.
Tuesday, March 6
- Game - All Saints 5 vs. Elysian Charter 5, 7:45 PM, Wallace
Wednesday, March 7
- Meet and Greet the Board Candidates for parents, 1:30 PM, Room 313
- Meet and Greet the Board Candidates for Staff, 3:00 PM
Thursday, March 8
- First Playoff Game - Elysian 8 White, 6:15 PM, Multi,
- If they win, play championship game Monday, March 12, 7:15 PM, Multi
Friday, March 9
- Friends of Elysian Annual Auction & Fundraiser, 7:00 PM-10:00 PM, HUB-16 Hudson Place
- Game - Elysian Charter 6 vs. HOLA 6, 8:45 PM, Wallace
Saturday, March 10
- Playoff Game - Elysian 3 White, 1:30 PM, Wallace
- Playoff Game - Elysian 3 Green, 2:30 PM, Wallace
- Playoff Game - Elysian 4 White, 3:30 PM, Wallace
- Playoff Game - Elysian 4 Green, 4:30 PM, Wallace
Tuesday, March 13
- Elysian Annual Meeting - 6:00 PM, Gym
- Game - Elysian Charter 5 vs. Wallace Black 5, 6:45 PM, Wallace
Wednesday, March 14
- 1/2 Day, 12:30 PM dismissal, Staff Development
Monday, March 19
- Game - All Saints 5 vs. Elysian Charter 5, 6:45 PM - Wallace
- Game - All Saints 6 vs. Elysian Charter 6, 7:45 PM - Wallace
Wednesday, March 21
- Game - Elysian Charter 5 vs. Wallace Grey 5, 7:45 PM - Wallace
Monday, March 26
Tuesday, March 27
- 6th Grade Trip - 8:00 AM - 2:30 PM
Thursday, March 29
- 1/2 Day, 12:30 PM dismissal
Friday, March 30 - Friday, April 6
- Spring Break - Elysian Closed
1460 Garden Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030
Harry Laub, Ph.D., Director