The Polite Times™
|A regular newsletter published by The PoliteChild, Inc.|
|Vol V, No 3||
President’s Corner – “Reform” still lacking this “R”
Dear PoliteChild family, supporters, and friends:
I don’t know how many of you caught the recent airing of Oprah which featured Bill and Melinda Gates and their Foundation’s plans for reforming education. The Gates’ approach to improving education centers on three elemental “R”s, which they feel are crucial to keeping students in school, raising the percentages of students graduating, and increasing overall academic achievement. The Gates’ 3 “R”s are:
I found the Gates’ approach very interesting and inspiring, but couldn’t help but notice that, once again, this new philosophy of reform is missing an essential “R”: “Respect.” Or, if you want to be very precise, there are several related “sub-Rs” that need to be added, including “Responsibility” and “Reliability.”
More broadly stated, what’s missing is the social skills angle to education. Those of you who have been reading our PoliteTimes for a while are well aware of my stand on the issue the necessity of social skills education in the classroom. But, for those newbies, let me just state it as succinctly and briefly as I can:
We will not have any real, lasting, significant improvements in our
educational system and our children’s academic outcome unless we
directly and effectively address the problems of discipline and behavior
management in the classroom and on the school grounds.
It just won’t happen.
When we see
teachers spending 20-50% or more of their time on average managing
behavior in the
classroom, there will never be
enough productive learning time for our kids. If
take their jobs as students seriously, and own that job – being
responsible for their work, conducting themselves
in ways that are appropriate to their environment,
holding themselves accountable
for outcomes (good or bad), –
And, it doesn’t take an entire classroom of hooligans to erode the educational environment. One or two disruptive, disrespectful students can ruin the learning experience for an entire class.
This is the main justification for why social skills education needs to be implemented in a broad, school-wise way; it puts everyone on equal footing – you don’t limit social skills success to those kids whose parents already make good manners and social skills a priority, or to those kids who come from “mainstream” demographics that understand what interpersonal behaviors are generally expected as “normal” in our society – everyone is given the same advantage. It also doesn’t single out only the “troublemakers,” as many discipline tactics or philosophies often do.
At The PoliteChild, what we do is to define a consistent, equal set of expectations and rules for everyone. Then, we equip the teachers with the curriculum to build on both general and specific social skills that reinforce the positive behaviors and virtues that will help our students, administrators, staff, and parents succeed – in school and in life. And, in keeping with our overall belief that we are developing necessary lifeskills, we build our curriculum in a flexible, adaptable way that complements the regular in-class academic curriculum as a “wrapper” so that social skills is part of everything the student does. Manners are not just for “special occasions” or “special curricula,” they are, as we say at PoliteChild, “the way we do business in schools and in life.”
And, positioned that way, implemented as we do, is how we support and reinforce a positive learning environment, where discipline and behavior management issues drop as much as 80% in one year…and test scores go up.
Add the “missing Rs” to the other “Rs” present in the current reform movements and I bet you’ll see outcomes – academically and personally – that we’ve so far only dreamed and talked about. I’ve seen them; they’re real, they’re achievable, they’re repeatable.
Unfortunately, we’re not a multi-billion dollar foundation (yet!) that can make a difference with money and celebrity, but we are making a difference in thousands of kids’ lives every year. If Oprah wants to talk about that type of education and personal reform, I’d say we’d have quite a story for her.
President & Founder
Some of you may have noticed that we’ve had some challenges with our phone/fax and other telecommunications systems in the pasts several weeks. We’d like to apologize if this has caused you any inconvenience. Trust us, it’s been a real PAIN for us.
We experienced some problems with our phone provider, Verizon, which affected pretty much everything we did – phones were “out of service” when they shouldn’t have been, website was unavailable for a time and our incoming/outgoing mail appeared to be working when, in fact, it wasn’t, our California fax lines rang into voicemail instead of ringing to the fax machine.
It appears everything is straightened out now, but we KNOW we’ve had people trying to reach us who couldn’t. And, we have a new fax number in California (seems when they “shut” the fax number down, inadvertently, they also gave the old number away!). For your reference, it is: 760 674 5846.
Again, we apologize sincerely for any inconvenience this may have caused
you and we appreciate your understanding and continued support!
Not a day goes by without someone asking us where they can join a PoliteChild class in their area. The good news is, our regional reach is expanding, but it’s not nearly enough! One option available to parents, community or school leaders, and/or local organizations is to host a PoliteChild class of your own. Yes, we will travel to YOU to provide the best in social skills education to your group!
But, you may wonder, how do I do this? It’s easier than you may think.
To “host” a class, you are responsible for finding and booking a location and the group to teach. For most classes, we require either a student minimum or, for a custom class, we usually have a set fee that must be met. Locations vary depending on the size of the group, but can include: homes, community or church centers, school classrooms, etc. We schedule the date around when you organize it, and then we arrive on the date(s) and conduct the class, bringing all the necessary materials.
As a thank you for organizing the class, we allow you to send one child free for each “minimum threshold” you meet – this may be for a certain number of students (for example, with a “Parent Organizer” specials where you can send one child free for every five additional students you bring in, if we have a local resource in your area)! Most of the time the organizers choose to send their own child, but you can send other kids you designate as a “sponsorship” if you prefer.
If travel is involved, we have other programs that host us “workshop style” for a reasonable fee. Again, we make it easy and financially practical for your group, and we can accommodate nearly anyone’s budget.
For more information on this or any PoliteChild programs, can reach
us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 866.485.4089.
We still are accepting listings for providers interested in advertising availability on our site! The demand for manners classes, finishing schools, etiquette consultants and similar “lifeskills” programs is growing at a phenomenal rate! At the PoliteChild, we are constantly bombarded with requests for classes or local resources in areas in which PoliteChild doesn’t yet operate – especially in New York, Texas and Midwestern states.
More and more individuals are getting involved with PoliteChild as independent provider, but we recognize that we can’t possibly grow quickly enough as a single organization to address the immediate needs of those families and individuals who want classes NOW!
Because of this overwhelming demand, we decided to offer a new service – a Directory of Etiquette/Manners Consultants and Providers available on the PoliteChild website. We have so many visitors coming to our site daily, it seems to make sense to enhance the information we already provide to help facilitate connections between the “demand” side (folks contacting US) with the available “suppliers” in their area.
For a yearly subscription price of $24.95, providers of manners-related products and services (finishing schools, manners programs, charm schools, etc.) can be listed on our site, along with an optional logo and/or links to their own website. Just provide us with your name/address/phone/business information, along with your logo and weblink, and we’ll place that on our special Directory webpage.
Initially, we’ll organize this information by state/province/country but ultimately we plan to have a variety of search options, including map-based search facilities to make it easy for people to find providers in their areas.
To be included in our directory, send this information to email@example.com and be sure to provide us with a way to get back to you with
any questions we may have. While initially our listing/posting/billing
process will be via email, expect for us to automate this process
in the very near future!
|Products for HomeSchooling or Consumer Use|
We are continually getting calls, emails and other inquiries about whether we have products for use as home-school curriculum or in-home use. The answer is “yes!” If this sounds like you, you may be interested in our independent training product, -- the SocialSmarts for Gradeschoolers DVD – available for purchase directly from our website!
While we do take email and phone orders for this product, we thought we’d make it easy for anyone who wanted instant access to our products to order the DVD Instructor set directly through the PoliteChild Store. And, it’s the featured product on our home page!
To see exactly what it is you get, and to order the full 4-DVD Instructor program, go to http://www.politechild.com/store/storemain.htm. You’ll be able to add this new tool to your shopping cart, along with our popular “got manners?” T-Shirts, “PoliteChild on Board” stickers, and more…
These products, while available for public use, are licensed materials, which means that they are sold on a “right-to-use” basis, much like computer software. As a licensed product, you may purchase the curriculum for limited use – home or small-scale homeschooling, for example. Student/parent materials need to be purchased from The PoliteChild; the materials in the Instructor binders, for example, may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission from The PoliteChild.
However, should you want to build a PoliteChild business of your own,
or offer PoliteChild courses as a commercial endeavor, we do have a
full licensing program available. For more information on the licensing
program, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at
Our tip this month is a quickie…for those harried parents of toddlers and pre-schoolers. How do you keep them from using their sleeves, dresses, shirts, and/or ARMS to be their napkin? And, how do you get the napkin to where it will do the most good and keep those errant spills off the clothing?
Well, as part of our “EarlyLearners” version of our SocialSmarts course, we invented a little rhyme to help our youngest students remember what to do with that napkin. It was featured on The Today Show several months back, too!
Next time you need to remind your little one about where that napkin goes, try teaching them this:
Clap, clap, clap,
While you’re saying the rhyme, clap along with line one…then flatten out your hands and move them into your lap for line two.
It seems so simple, but it really works! Our toddlers and preschoolers like using all sorts of “play” to learn – rhymes and poems are great techniques to use and makes learning FUN! The combo of rhyme plus hand motions makes this a terrific way to remember the “rule” for napkin usage plus the physical effort of placing it where it belongs!
Do you have a parenting tip
or a question you’d like help with?
Then email us at email@example.com and it may
find its way into an upcoming PoliteTimes column!
|PoliteChild in the News|
Here’s where PoliteChild can be seen in your area!
PoliteChild featured in
Seattle’s Parent Map April, 2006 issue
on Party Manners.
|What would you like to see?|
The PoliteTimes is continually adding more readers and gaining a broader audience, but we’re continually striving to offer you the right information, news and tips for our newsletters that are interesting and relevant.
Do you have something you’d like to see us cover or have a question you’d like us to answer (privately or through our newsletter)? Is there someone you think should have our newsletter but doesn’t currently subscribe? If so, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 866.485.4089!
We appreciate all those
folks who have already written us to give us feedback. We do read
each and every one of your letters and take
your input seriously! If you don’t get a response from us in
48 hours, please email us again. We’re finding that SPAM filters
seem to be overly efficient in blocking out correspondence sometimes,
even the correspondence that’s wanted and welcome!