‘Whole-brain child’ topic in District 181
Updated: February 19, 2013 12:23PM
HINSDALE — I wasn’t born knowing how to be a parent.
I’ve grown into the role as my kids have matured, and I have reacted to their emotional outbursts more often than I have responded to them. But one of the most useful resources I’ve found over the years of being a Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Elementary District 181 taxpayer and parent are the parent-education opportunities, especially the ones the district’s Social, Emotional Learning for Academic Success Committee has sponsored.
The committee really looks to enhance our elementary students’ social and emotional learning and awareness throughout the school year. In the next two weeks, it turns its focus around and offers up programs to parents, with the biggest being the One District, One Book Community Book Read on The Whole-Brain Child, the topic of a discussion and presentation at 7 p.m. Jan. 29 in the Katherine Legge Memorial Lodge.
In the past, the committee has presented screenings of the provocative movie “Race to Nowhere” about the incredible pressures that pre-teens and teens feel, and last year, Madeline Levine spoke about her book The Price of Privilege: How Parental Pressure and Material Advantage are Creating a Generation of Disconnected and Unhappy Kids.
This year, the focus is on brain development and how it goes along with emotional growth. The Whole-Brain Child offers “12 revolutionary strategies to nurture your child’s developing mind,” according to the book’s front cover.
When Jeanne Osgood, the district’s consultant, proposed this book to the group of teachers, staff and parents as the parent-education opportunity for this school year, the reaction was very positive, she said. For one thing, the book looks at the brain from a physiological perspective — it is still developing and growing until a person reaches his or her mid-20s. For another, she said, “There’s so much research that backs up our common sense.”
Daniel J. Siegal, M.D., and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D., are the authors of The Whole-Brain Child, and they talk about getting the brain’s logical left side aligned to good purpose with the brain’s emotional, social right side. These two doctors want parents to learn how to get their children to use both sides of their brain — left and right — especially during those meltdown moments. They offer suggestions like “Connect and Redirect,” “Name it to Tame it,” “Engage Don’t Enrage” and “Get Active.”
Since the brain continues to develop into a person’s 20s, parents of that most volatile and even passionate creature — the teenager — may also want to attend.
To learn more about District 181’s program, two parent meetings will be offered next week. One is from 7-8:30 p.m. Jan. 22 in the media center at Elm School, 6010 S. Elm St., Burr Ridge. The other is from 1-2:30 p.m. in the conference room of the Hinsdale Public Library, 20 E. Maple.
For more information, visit www.d181.org and go to the resources tab at the top of the page. SELAS information is available in the drop-down box. Actually, there’s quite a bit of useful, provocative and interesting stuff within all the material on the website for interested parents. ~.