ABS Thursday Notes- October 5, 2017

Thursday Notes                           

Published for the Arts Based School Community                                                              October 5, 2017




No School-Monday, Oct 9


Children and Grief

-Amanda Sullivan, School Counselor

Recently, we have all watched as the world has reacted to the tragic events in Las Vegas.  And, close to home, we have experienced the unexpected loss of Liz Green’s baby daughter. Despite our best efforts to shield them from distressing news, our children absorb all that is around them, good and bad.  For that reason, it is best to be prepared on how to handle discussions about tragic events and grief with your children.


Though similar in reaction, there are some differences when talking to children about tragic world events and personal experiences of grief. Let’s start with tragic events and dramatic news stories.  Whenever a tragedy like the massacre in Las Vegas occurs, it is natural to be curious and want to learn as much as possible through the news and other public communications.  But remember: your children are listening, too, and processing things much differently than adults do.  It is important to limit your child’s access to television news, as the news tends to be more graphic than they can handle.  When discussing the event with your child, it is important to keep your information short and factual, without a lot of personal reaction.  Start by asking them what they have heard so far.  Then give a short and concrete answer to their questions.  For example, in regards to Las Vegas, you might say something like, “There was a tragic event in Las Vegas, a town very far from here, and a lot of people were hurt.  The police and medical professionals responded quickly and were able to get everything under control and help those who needed it.  The person responsible will not be able to hurt anyone again, and the people who were at the event all came together to help each other.”  Make sure to focus on as many reassuring facts as possible, like help from the police and medical professionals, and how everyone pulled together to support each other.  Avoid making political comments and avoid talking graphically about what happened, like the weapons used, and specifics about how people were hurt.  End on a reassuring note, that these events do not happen often, and there are much more positive events in the world every day than bad things like this.  Our media tends to focus on the negative for sensationalism, but it is important for kids to know that the good in our country far outweighs the bad.


Here are two good links that talk further about handling tragic events with your children:





In regards to the death of someone in their lives, again, children respond very differently to grief than adults do.  Children tend to be very concrete and simple in their responses to death. When you lose someone close to you, or even a family pet, it is important to stick to the facts and keep things easy to understand.  Avoid phrases like, “She just went to sleep…” because this can cause your child to be fearful of sleeping.  Also, it is fine to bring religious beliefs into your discussion of death if that is something that is important to your family, but saying things like, “God chose her to go to Heaven” may make the child worry about who is going to be next.  Saying something instead like, “I believe she is now in Heaven with God” is fine, as it may be comforting to your child to hear.  If you don’t believe in an afterlife, it is helpful to say something like, “Grandma will continue to live in our hearts and memories.” Making something concrete—like a memory book or memory stone—is also a great way to help a child through the grieving process.


My favorite way to discuss death with young children comes from southern storyteller Donald Davis. When Davis was 5-years-old and went to his kindergarten class one morning, incredibly sad over the loss of his kitten, he told his teacher, “My kitten died for no good reason.”  His teacher then answered him by saying, “Nothing ever dies for no reason.  If something dies, it is either because it got too hurt to get well, or too sick to get well, or, if you are really lucky, just plain too old to get well.”  I have used this a lot with the children I work with, and the simplicity of the answer is just what they need to be satisfied.


You may cry a lot or be incredibly sad by the loss of someone close to you, and that is okay.  Don’t be frustrated, though, if your child does not have the same reaction.  Children often show their grief in other ways, like problems sleeping at night, or being angry more often.  And don’t worry about hiding your tears from your child.  It is healthy to show them that you are emotional, as long as you explain why you are upset:  “I’m really sad because I miss grandma.  It’s okay to cry when you are sad.  I loved her a lot, so you may see me crying often.  Don’t worry, though.  I will be okay.”


Here are two helpful links for more information on how to talk to your child about grief:





Our ABS counselor, Amanda Sullivan, is here to help your child to deal with issues of grief and loss or any other concerns.  She can be reached at asullivan@artsbasedschool.com and is available Monday through Friday, 8:45-3:15.


Parent Council Meeting – Friday, October 13
Please join us for the October Parent Council on Friday, October 13 at 8:15 in the MLK Cafe.  All ABS parents, families, and caregivers are part of Parent Council and are welcome to attend!  Don’t forget that attendance at Parent Council meetings counts toward volunteer hours.  If you have requests for the agenda, please send them to Parent Council Co-Chairs, Joy Blaser (joy.blaser@gmail.com) and Julee Nunley (julee@thenunleys.net) by Friday, October 6.


Positive Discipline Workshop for Parents

 October 21

-Ever wonder why your child listens so well in school but you have trouble getting him to even brush his teeth at home?

-Frustrated that you raise your voice more than you’d like to?

-Finding your previous discipline strategies no longer work with your new middle-schooler?


If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this workshop is for you!  Join us for an interactive workshop with Principal Robin Hollis as she takes us through the strategies behind the Positive Discipline practices used by ABS staff members.  The same effective principles found in the classroom can be beneficial in your home as well!  Find out how you can apply positive discipline at home today and provide wonderful continuity for your child each day.  The workshop will be tailored to meet the age appropriate needs of those that register.

WHEN:  Saturday, October 21  from 9am-Noon

WHERE:  ABS Café, MLK Building

CHILDCARE:  Childcare will be provided on site (please let us know how many children will need care when you sign up)

COST:  $10/family

SIGN-UP:  Email Robin Hollis (rhollis@artsbasedschool.com) to sign up today.  You may send in payment with your child in a marked envelope (checks should be made out to ABS).  You may also stop by either front office to sign up as well.  Space is limited so reserve your spot today!


ABS Garden Workdays

Beautiful weather means relaxing days in the garden. Come out to help with some planting and garden clean up around the school. We’ll be there 9:00-12:00, on Saturdays October 7 & 21. RSVP appreciated but not required to kristen@rootsfirst.com.



Congratulations to our winning artists at the Dixie Classic Fair!


1st   Place – Hailey Wooten

2nd  Place – Olivia Rareshide

3rd  Place – Anna Wagner



1st  Place – Kendyl Shaugnessy

2nd Place – Hannah Brooks

3rd Place – Stuart McMillan


Fall Fest

Thanks to all the volunteers who worked hard to make it such a fun day with a special shout out to Shannon Shearburn for coordinating it all!  We raised over $1,400 and all had a great time doing it!


Dental Screening

When children have dental problems, their overall health and ability to learn can be seriously compromised.  As part of our regular school preventive dental health program, the NC Oral Health Section, Division of Public Health, and Lynn Kelly, RDH, Public Health Dental Hygienist for Forsyth County, will conduct dental screenings for children in grades K, 3rd, 5th on October 12.  She will use gloves, mask, flashlight, and will use a new tongue depressor for each child.  The screening serves as an educational, positive dental experience and also collects information to help improve the Children’s Dental Health programs.  Children who see a dentist regularly will also benefit from the screening for the educational opportunity.  A form letter will be sent home to show your child’s results.


If you do not want your child included in this dental screening, please send a note to your child’s teacher.  If you have any questions, please call Lynn Kelly, RDH, at the Forsyth County Health Department.  (336) 703-3375


Halloween is Coming

Please do not send students to school in costumes.  We all enjoy the fun and excitement of Halloween but find that costumes and accessories make it very difficult to concentrate.  Also we do not want students to bring candy in their lunch bags for snacks.  Although it can be delicious, high sugar snacks should not replace a healthy snack.  Thanks for your help!

Upcoming Events

6th-Olio Glassblowing Studio

Fri, October 6, 8:45am – 10:15am


6th-Purdy-Olio Glassblowing Studio

Fri, October 6, 9:45am – 11:15am


7th – Pulitzer Center director Micah Fink

Fri, October 6, 9:00am – 10:30am


Friday Sing

Fri, October 6, 1:50pm – 2:20pm


Big Sweep-Salem Lake

Sat, October 7, 9am – 12pm


Garden Workday

Sat, October 7, 9am – 12pm


No School

Mon, October 9


5th – Reynolda House, Stream Science

Tue, October 10, 9:30am – 1:30pm


ABS Board Meeting

Tue, October 10, 5:45pm – 6:45pm


8th – Water Treatment Plant

Wed, October 11, 8:30am – 11:00am


1st – Walking Tour Downtown

Thu, October 12, 8:30am – 11:30am


Dental Screening K,3,5 grades only

Thu, October 12, 8:30am – 11:00am


4th Meeks – Landforms

Thu, October 12, 8:30am – 9:10am

4th Robertson – Landforms

Thu, October 12, 1:40pm – 2:20pm


4th DeJarnette – Landforms

Fri, October 13, 1:40pm – 2:20pm