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Dinosaurs in School?

Dinosaurs in school?
If your kindergartener, 1st,2nd or right on up to 5th grader tells you that they learned something from a dinosaur, don’t worry, they are not insulting a teacher!  They probably DID learn something from a dinosaur, or her friends Wally, Molly and Tiny Turtle.  Dina, the dinosaur, has been attending McGraw kindergartens weekly for the past 6 years teaching our young learners Social and Emotional Literacy skills.  From learning how to introduce themselves to solving problems, Dina, Wally, Molly, and Tiny share their school experiences to help your child be socially successful in school. 
Dina is part of The Incredible Years Social Skills and Problem Solving in the Classroom program that is introduced in most Head Starts in our area and carried over into the kindergarten classrooms here at McGraw.  Dina and her friends provide weekly strategies that the students practice during the 30-minute Dina session.  They continue to practice the learned strategies throughout the week in class with their teacher and friends, and hopefully use their strategies all through school!  Many students in 1st and 2nd grade share that they miss Dina, and even 5th graders will stop Dina in the halls and reminisce how Wally helped them learn to calm down in kindergarten. 
One of the kid’s favorite strategies they learn from Wally is “I can do it.  I can calm down”.  Students practice saying this phrase at least three times, slowly, taking a deep breath, in and out, each time.  This strategy slows down the body (and the heartrate!) and uses positive self-talk to remind each student that they can do it! They are in control and can do the right thing!  The Incredible Years series provides researched based interventions and strategies that teach social-emotional skills, but it does it in a fun and entertaining way so the kids don’t even realize they are learning!
Other items addressed by Dina and her friends throughout the school year are:
  • Many strategies to help calm our body down and remain in control
  • Learning about nine different emotions AND what to do with them
  • Thinking about other people’s emotions and ways to help them
  • Ways to tell others that you don’t like something, without hurting their feelings
  • Learning to solve problems in a safe and fair way that leads to good feelings for all
  • And whatever else might need to be addressed specific to a given classroom
So, if your young learner happens to mention “the dinosaur teacher” at school, don’t get upset, get interested and ask what they learned from Dina and her friends! 
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Melinda McCool, Superintendent
10 West Academy Street
McGraw, NY 13101
P: (607)836-3636