SCV Education News
February, 2019 - Issue #173
Character Building Begins at Home,
but should Continue on Campus
You start teaching your child positive character traits before they even begin to talk. "Don't pull the cat's tail, it isn't nice!" "We don't hit our sister, we hug our sister." "We put our toys all over the room, now we have to clean them up."
Yes, basic character education begins early - but what happens when you stop being the primary provider of character development during your child's school day? "It's a big transition for many parents, and a frequent cause of concern," explains SCV education expert and Legacy Christian Academy Head of School Matt Millett. "They want to be sure that the love and time they have invested in their child's character won't be undone. Santa Clarita parents worry about bullying, peer pressure and bad influences, even at the youngest ages. Studies in the field have shown that bullying can begin as early as age 3!"
There's a lot of talk about character today, thanks to research demonstrating that "making good people" isn't where benefits of character education stop. Rutgers University Professor Maurice Elias's groundbreaking research, for example, concludes that focusing on the moral character of students in school directly impacts academic success.
"We all want our children to be trustworthy, respectful, responsible, caring human beings," explains Millett, who's Academy has Christian-based character work built into the curriculum in every grade. "And schools building character with intention are setting the standard for not only education in 2019, but establishing what it means to be a good citizen in our communities. We want to develop character that carries beyond the school yard and influences a child's current and future relationships, leadership skills and participation in our democracy."
It's a big goal, but one that has been achieved with the help of consistent programming, teacher training and buy in from students and parents. "At Legacy, we have character conversations in the classroom, on the play yard and in our weekly Chapel. 'Heartwork,' character-building 'homework' for learners and their families, carries those conversations beyond campus. We teach conflict-resolution skills beginning in Kindergarten and we conscientiously make an effort to publicly and privately reward good character as part of our Academy culture," explains Millett.
The effort is more than worth it. "When character is built into the curriculum, you reap benefits all day long," shares Millett. "Classrooms run smoother - there are fewer behavior distractions and more is accomplished. Deeper friendships are formed and when inevitable conflict arises, kids have the skills to handle it themselves without hurt feelings. More is done for the community - students hear about someone in need and they rise to the occasion on their own. Parents report that sibling relations are improved at home. It really is a game changer for everyone involved."
Want to see character education in action?
Tours for the 2019-20 school year are available
now at Legacy Christian Academy. 257-7377

What Traits Show "Good Character?"
Self Discipline
Caring & Compassion

"As parents, we are responsible to God for how we raise our children. In Legacy Christian Academy we have found a school that embraces priorities and pursues goals that are important to us. The learning environment; the emphasis on Biblical character; the academic rigor; the personal care and attention from faculty, staff and administration; the sense of family and community - it all adds up to a remarkable education experience for our children."
~ Dr. Jay and Stephanie Flowers

Five Amazing Benefits of Preschool
Preschool environments offer many benefits for young children's development. Each family has different needs, whether your child is enrolled a few hours a week or full time. Here are a few developmental milestones that preschools promote in young children.

Social Skills: When children enter preschool they are in a very egocentric stage in their development. "Mine," "me" and "I want" are all solid words and phrases in their vocabulary. When children enter preschool, they encounter other children who want something equally as much as they do. Done right, this can promote the concept of sharing. Learning how to share and care for others feelings are big developmental milestones for young children. Preschool offers children the opportunity to build friendships, navigate emotions and explore their feelings in a safe space with their peers.
Developing Trust: Separation anxiety is a common factor at preschool drop off. Helping children to trust that their family will come back to pick them up and trust that their teachers will take care of them are important feelings to develop during this stage. Children also learn empathy and often comfort and care for other children who may feel sad. These are big emotions that are being put into action on a daily basis in a preschool classroom.
Fine Motor Skills: Before young children can learn to write their names, they must first build up the strength in their fingers. Preschool environments offer endless opportunities to strengthen and develop those fine motor muscles and engage children in pre-writing opportunities. Playing with clay, stringing beads, writing in sand trays and engaging with sensory tables are all ways that preschool teachers provide opportunities in their classrooms to strengthen little fingers.
Gross Motor Skills: Children understand their world through play. Having ample time to run, jump, climb and balance are all ways they navigate through their day. Preschool environments offer abundant opportunities for trial and error through play, helping children to develop the necessary gross motor skills for complex movements and strengthen core development.
Music & Movement: Ask any preschool teacher to sing you a song off the top of their head and they will have a plethora to choose from. Young children learn so much through music and movement and preschool classrooms are a perfect place to belt out their favorite songs and finger plays while exploring with different musical instruments.
The Santa Clarita Valley has many amazing preschools from which to choose. I always encourage families to visit multiple schools to really get a sense about which is the right fit for them and their child. Many schools in Santa Clarita start their enrollment process in early March, so now is a great time to start visiting schools.
Taylor Hernandez, MA, Ed, has 14 years experience in the Early Childhood Education field. She lives in Santa Clarita with her husband and three young children and is currently working on a child-development website.

Saugus Union School District Preschool Enrollment
Opens Week of February 25
Help your preschooler grow and learn with Saugus Union School District Preschool Programs. Interest cards are available this week! SUSD Preschool programs offer developmentally-appropriate curriculum for 3 and 4 year olds, teaching Kindergarten readiness skills in a caring and nurturing environment with a highly-qualified staff. Multi-day and full-day options are available at select locations. They are also offering a few State Preschool options, serving low-income families. Please call sites directly for program and enrollment information as well as eligibility requirements for funded programs.
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