Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Representation

Written by Seth Pozzi, Head of School on .

How To Combat Anti-Asian Racism Today | The 360 Blog - Salesforce
The violent shootings in Atlanta this week were a chilling and saddening reminder of the violence, racism, and discrimination faced by the Asian-American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community throughout the history of our country, and alarmingly increasing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I wanted to share a some helpful information:


(not all are appropriate for young children & certainly not a comprehensive list of issues we should all know about):

How [NOT] to talk to young girls

Written by WHPS Preschool Directors on .

Have you ever told a child: “You look adorable today!” “I love that dress!” or “What a pretty ribbon you’ve got in your hair!” We all do it. But, child development experts caution us about about making frequent references to appearance, especially when speaking to young girls. 

What! Why?
A recent report showed that nearly half of all three to six year old girls worry about being fat. Kids as young as six rank body image among their highest concerns. Study after study proves that girls believe how they look is the key to their self-esteem. They think how they look is who they are. What was your highest concern when you were 6 years old? 

In her book Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World, child development expert Lisa Bloom explains that many girls under 12 years old are wearing makeup regularly, and one in four young women say they would much rather win America’s Next Top Model than the Nobel Peace Prize.

Instead of: "You look so cute"

  • Focus on what they are into: their ideas, favorite books, favorite color; their interests over their appearance. 

  • Talk about the last trip you took and ask where their favorite place is to go.

  • Ask about their favorite book and what they liked about it.

  • Read books to your children about powerful and accomplished female figures.

  • Know a police officer, firefighter, doctor, dentist or construction worker who is a female? Make sure your child sees this non-stereotypical representation.

  • See a magazine at the supermarket with a female on the cover? Introduce your child to the contributions to society she made to be placed on that magazine.

  • Watch the WNBA or women’s soccer, not just male-dominated sports. 

  • Here is a great site with a list of picture books, movies, and more.

The Swiss Army Knife for Kids

Written by Seth Pozzi, Head of School on .

Want to help your child with: Tantrums? Peer/sibling conflict? Anxiety? Disappointment? Big emotions?

The good news - There is one simple tool that can help! (HINT: Not a real knife)

The bad news - We often forget to use it!

I challenge us to put this tool back in our tool belt and keep it ready at a moment’s notice. If we aren’t using it multiple times/day, we are missing a huge opportunity.   
Young children deal with the same emotions adults do: anger, sadness, frustration, anxiety, happiness, embarrassment, etc. But, they often do not have or use the right words to identify and talk about how they are feeling. Instead, they may act out, sometimes in physical and maladaptive ways.  

Here's the Swiss Army Knife that can improve many parenting (or teachering) situations:

Name your child’s emotions
  • “Mommy left on a trip, you are sad.” 
  • Providing a label for the feeling enables the child to develop vocabulary for talking about feelings. Don’t be afraid to get it wrong. You are not a mind reader. If your child disagrees with your label, that also opens up valuable discussion.

Talk about how people might be feeling (frequently)

  • “Aerin bumped her head on the slide. How do you think she feels?”
  • Talk about different ways they can respond to specific feelings, conflicts, or problems. 
Talk about your own feelings
  • “Remember yesterday when the water in the bathtub would not go down? Mommy got so mad and do you remember what my face looked like when I got mad? Can you make a mad face like that?” 
Talk about different ways you deal with specific feelings
  • “When I get mad I take a deep breath, count to three, and then try to think of the best way to deal with my problem.” 
Teach your child to express their emotions in ways that your family finds acceptable
  • You might tell your child: “Sometimes dad is angry when something goes wrong at work. What does he do? He sits at his desk until he figures out what he wants to say about it. Where might you want to sit and think when you get angry?”

What should schools do for Black History [and Herstory] Month?

Written by Seth Pozzi, Head of School on .


Like so many things in life, there is no easy, quick, or painless way to teach about Black history. For many of us, Black history was not properly addressed throughout our own education. As I said in our back to school newsletter, one of the ways we can do this is to take ourselves back to school and try to understand our history from different perspectives. We believe Black history and the history of other historically marginalized people shouldn’t be relegated to just one month or oversimplified into any one special event. Even so, February is a great time to recommit ourselves to learning and growing with our kids, helping them to be even better human beings than ourselves. Throughout this month we will be sharing a variety of tips and resources that can help parents and teachers jumpstart these conversations.

A few topics to watch for:

Do you have a personal story, suggested book or activity that could help children understand a certain event or experience from different perspective? If so, tell us about it

Mental Health for the Whole Family During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Written by Dr. Sharon Arbel, Ph.D. on .

Mental Health for the Whole Family During the COVID-19 Pandemic
March 4, 7-8:30 PM

RSVP & Submit Questions

Dr. Sharon Arbel is a Clinical Psychologist with over 20 years of experience helping children and families.  She owns and operates a private practice in Tarzana (which is currently online) where she sees her own clients and also supervises and trains interns in their clinical work.  She is a former university instructor for graduate level psychology students and is the mother of three children.  Dr. Arbel will be giving a virtual workshop to the WHPS community on March 4th about "Mental Health for the Whole Family During the COVID-19 Pandemic."  She will also be contributing monthly to our newsletter via a Q/A section for the remainder of this school year. 

This Month's Q & A With Dr. Arbel

Q. My child is constantly telling me that he is bored. With extracurricular activities cancelled and far less social interactions, how can I help him feel less bored?

A. First off, boredom is nothing to be worried about.  Boredom is actually a pretty wonderful experience, which children in today's day and age do not have enough of. Boredom leads us to feel more comfortable with ourselves and find creative ways to entertain ourselves as well as give ourselves permission to simply rest.  When your child complains of boredom, rather than presenting him with various options of entertainment or jumping in to entertain him yourself, you can simply reply with, "that's great, I want you to feel bored at times because that it healthy for your development."

Secondly, I will say that I am seeing a great deal of kids recently who are not interested in some of the things that were previously very enjoyable to them.  This is a mood-related symptom and thus "bored" can often be a synonym to "sad/empty."  Be sure that you are attuned to how your child is using the word.  If you have a hunch that it comes from a place of feeling sad or empty, your leaning in and helping him to cultivate that language and self expression to tell you what is really going on will be very important.  Our presence as parents is truly key during this very challenging time in our lives.

Q. My children fight often. They have been spending so much time together during the pandemic that they can't stop bickering.

A. This pandemic certainly has blurred boundaries between siblings.  In some families, the sibling relationship has been a saving grace during this time of social isolation, while in other families, it has been a significant stressor due to the constant bickering.  Everyone needs boundaries and time alone.  See if you can prescribe time alone for your children every day.  It would help if they also had a safe space where they could go and unwind or read or just be alone. Furthermore, see if you can integrate quality time with a parent (1:1) every week. Finally, pay attention to the ways in which you deal with the bickering.  Do you jump in to meditate or reprimand? Sibling rivalry is very commonly about parental attention so the more that you can stay out of the picture, the better for everyone. 

Q. My children have so much screen time these days. What is the time limit that I should be implementing?

A. This is a question I get asked daily by parents in my practice, and it's a very legitimate one.  Between learning, socializing, playing, and exercising online, kids are getting screen time well beyond the recommended amounts.  The key here is to pay attention to the quality and purpose of the screen time.  In other words, what goal is it serving and how important is that goal?

Outside of the school day (whether online or in person), children need to be getting exercise and outside play, as well as socialization.  They need to practice social skills, be a contributing member of their household, interact with peers their age, and interact with their parents.  They need a proper sleep and meal routine.  If after all of these things there is time left over for playing video games, then there is no harm from time to time. Just pay attention to the order of priority of the important daily tasks that come before playing video games and watching tv.  If you are clear with your child about their responsibilities, screen time becomes less of a battle.

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