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|How to Teach Children About Giving|
We see it in print all the time:
"Cultivate an attitude of gratitude."
"How my gratitude journal changed my life..."
Oprah tells us:
"What I know for sure is that living in appreciation for what we have, instead of focusing on what we want, is key to a fulfilling life."
And we agree. We know how fortunate we are. We know we have more than we need. But. do we stop to really be grateful? Are we modeling it for our children, partners, friends? And what does gratitude have to do with giving and children?
When we live a grateful life, and we model gratitude and appreciation for those around us, especially our children, we are sowing the seeds that will blossom later. This article from Parents Magazine contains helpful ways to cultivate a grateful mindset in our children.
Set the stage for grateful hearts to grow.
Involve your child in acts of kindness, and let them see, first hand, what gratitude looks and sounds like in other people. Name that emotion for them. Here's an example conversation based on dropping off some food for Grandma-
"Let's watch Grandma's smile when we surprise her with this dinner. Let's look at her face. Are you looking? She is so thankful." Pause and let your child see and feel what is happening. "She feels gratitude and we feel joy." When you drive away from Grandma's, name your joy again. "Did you see Grandma's face?" (wait for an answer, if none comes or your child is pre-verbal, provide the answer) "She was smiling." "Did you see her eyes?" "They were shining. Grandma had a feeling. Her feeling was gratitude!" "Did you have a feeling? I did!" "I still feel it here." (rub your chest) "Do you know the name of that happy feeling? It's joy. I felt joy." Make a practice of acts of kindness. You will raise humans who carry it on.
What about the 'Gimme Gimme' cry?
Marketing to children is big business, and nowhere is it bigger than in the USA. Although we cannot shield them completely, we can be aware of the advertising messages our children are receiving and teach them critical thinking skills from a very young age. The younger they are, the more we can monitor what they take in from the world and media around them. We also hold the power to set the traditions in our homes, and that is truly how holiday magic is made. To make magic for others, get your whole family involved in an act of local giving. 14 Ways to Give Back None of this is learning is instant, and this we know. The joy of giving can not be taught, but it can be learned. Through experience. We wish you many happy giving experiences with your children this season, and always.
State of the School Address
by our founder, Lisl Friday
(This letter was previously sent to current families on November 4, 2020)
Dear Athena Families,
It is with great humility and vulnerability that I feel the need to have a level of transparency with you that I don’t normally reveal about the business of Athena. It is important to me to keep the majority of my work behind the scenes, hoping that teachers and families alike can just experience the joy of being part of a school community, and not think about it being a business. But at this time, I need to pull the curtain back slightly, and let you in on the reality of our financial situation.
I did not lay off any teachers while our students were at home when we had to close the school. I never stopped paying them, and I never stopped paying for their health insurance. They are my priority. I know that in order to have our families and children well taken care of, my teachers and administrative team need to feel loved and cared for, supported, and valued.
I applied for and received PPP money to cover payroll for 12 weeks last spring, and I also offered our families a 25% discount on their final tuition payment since we had to go virtual. We were unable to offer our full summer camp program, which decreased our income in the spring and summer, yet I kept my commitment to pay our teachers and staff in full per their original contract. I added a sixth classroom in order to spread out the students and honor the enrollment of everyone who committed prior to the pandemic, and hence, had to invest in new Montessori materials, furniture, and additional faculty. I also invested extra funds into classroom and playground dividers, personal protective equipment, sanitation and airflow equipment, and hired a public health/Covid consultant.
Now, we are enrolled at a very limited capacity, and we are operating the business at a significant loss. I have enough in savings to make payroll and expenses until February.
We’ve been working hard to come up with creative and out-of-the box solutions not only to cut back on expenses, but also to increase revenue, in a time where most of our regular options for additional revenue are not available due to Covid restrictions, including larger Primary class sizes, Early Arrival, After School, and Extracurricular Programs. The safety and health of our community members is of top priority to me, and so is keeping Athena alive for the future.
Here is my plan to get us to break-even by the end of this school year:
By January: Add one student to each pod (Primary classes only), bringing the Primary pod sizes to 11;
January: Assess a per-semester Pandemic Relief Fee of $500, as needed, only during the pandemic (during limited class sizes and lowered ratios); families will have the option of spreading this fee out over the five months of each semester;
By April: Enroll a minimum of 100 students for Summer Camp 2021 (Summer Camp registration fee is due in April to secure a summer spot; summer tuition is due May 1).
We feel that adding one student per pod is safe, given all the comprehensive precautions and protocols we have in place. The fact that we have not yet had any positive Covid cases in our community is testament to our strict adherence to these protocols. We intend to continue to monitor best practices for health and safety protocols in moving forward.
We typically also count on fundraising each year towards a special cause and collect this money at our annual Casino Night event. We know that these times are financially difficult for many people and are therefore uncomfortable hosting a fundraiser per se, but if any of you are in a position to donate money this year, we will be eternally grateful. Funds donated will go towards sustaining the business of Athena for our community.
As usual, in December we will begin re-enrollment of current families, then enrollment for siblings, at which time we will collect the regular Enrollment Fee for next school year from enrolling families.
I am anticipating the possibility that we may need to plan for another school year under similar conditions with respect to the pandemic. If we are still advised to maintain limited class sizes and lowered ratios next school year, we may also need to assess a Pandemic Relief Fee in the fall of 2021 and spring of 2022. This fee can be seen as an as-needed semesterly payment (or can again be spread out over the five months of each semester) for the premium of maintaining these low numbers, while we are limited in our operations due to the pandemic.
We will also be increasing tuition next school year by a higher percentage than is typical for Athena. We have always worked hard to maintain a tuition rate that is fair and competitive while also offering the highest quality programs possible. The tuition will likely need to increase by 8-10% for the 2021-2022 school year. This price increase will allow us to sustain our business in this current model.
The path forward is full of unknowns, but I know that together, we can make it through this unprecedented time. I am enormously grateful for the opportunity to serve you and your children and have faith that we will persevere and that Athena will stand strong.
Lisl Friday, Founder
Thank you to all our families who helped bring Diwali to our campus in an authentic and community led fashion. And speaking of fashion, can we talk about these two from P5 in beautiful attire provided by Krupa Bala?
Pictured are co-lead guides, Hilary and Laila.
Lisl's Tongue Twister Challenge
A tongue twister is a specific sequence of words whose rapid, repeated pronunciation is difficult even for native speakers.
Often these are similar words which follow one another but differ in certain syllables. Alliterations are also frequent.
In addition, some tongues are difficult because of their unusual word composition (sentence structure) and therefore require a high level of concentration.
Some Tongue twisters are made for amusement, but on the other hand, professional speakers such as actors, politicians, and television / radio hosts use them as articulation exercises.
Here's one for you to try out at home, remember that it's not just how fast you say it, but also how clearly:
Betty Botter bought some butter
But she said, "This butter's bitter!".
"If I put it in my batter, it will make my batter bitter!"
So, she bought a bit of better butter,
put it in her bitter batter,
made her bitter batter better.
So, 'tis better Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter.
3-week session: Nov. 30-Dec. 17th:
On-demand classes for PK & Elementary- watch at your own time, anytime!
Small Business Saturday: In celebration of Small Business Saturday, Mariposas Spanish School is waiving annual registration fees on Zoom classes for new families! Already a member of the program? Take 50% off any on-demand Spanish course with code SBS50. These pre-recorded classes are a perfect activity for the holidays: they're easy to watch from anywhere, at any time, and anyone can learn! Ages 3-10.
Organize an in person POD CLASS!