March 7th, 2020
SUCCESS: What does it mean at Prep to Step-Up?
As we approach Celebration Day at the end of our Winter Semester 2020, some may be considering what successes they have achieved.
Certificates of Appreciation for completing a Semester are given out at the Celebration Ceremony, as well as Clients awarding Clients. Individual success is determined through self-assessment; not by assigned marks or letters, not by goals achieved, not by completing expectations set down by peer authority but by the inner will in each Client to be the best they feel they can be in any given moment at Prep to Step-Up. It is all we can realistically expect of anyone - to have the most self-empowerment that can positively affect their own path or that of supporting each other.
Clients know how successful they have been! Pats on the back are many and sincerely given!
The final word-of-the-week posted on the Word Wall was SUCCESS. Our Word Wall is another calming tool for anxiety and self-expression. There is a new word posted every week. After completing their work in any Rotation, Clients may choose to spend the remaining time at the Word Wall sharing their artistic talents. It can also be used at any time to express unwanted emotions, choosing colours that represent how they’re feeling to see them visually expressed so that they can feel supported while coping with anxieties at all levels. Every home should have a Word Wall!
Similar to throwing a dart at a balloon, we aim just above a target success every day, working hard at trying our best to make it as close as we can in that moment to feel all kinds of success. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “We aim above the mark to hit the mark!”
There are so many examples of success at Prep to Step-Up. Speaking up in Circle, reading a new word, sharing smiles and giggles over silly things we do without judgement or criticism, suggesting new ideas that support the current curriculum, helping out our friends with doing things that are tough, giving each other space when we’re having a bad day, being gentle and respectful, supporting each other by celebrating overcoming a new level of anxiety, participating when it seems so hard, keeping our space clean and tidy, following plans and routines... all done with care, intention and love so that we never ignore or forget those moments of success.
Success may be hard, but ‘hard’ does not mean impossible! At Prep to Step-Up, the reality of reaching for the moon is not necessary for standing next to each of us there is always a star!
Congratulations Clients, Friends, Families, Staff for all your success!
"Never Ignore a Possible!"
Spring Semester Registration is now Open
April 7th - June 11th, 2020
Due to Increased Enrolment, Registration is Limited! New Client inquiries coming in. Secure Your Spot!
A Deposit of $150.00 is required by Thursday March 12th, 2020 by either Cash, Cheque or e-Transfer.
You are our best ambassadors for Prep to Step-Up! If you promote the program to someone new who definitely signs up, there will be a 10% deduction from your fee.
Literacy: Word of the Week
Literacy has started a new practice focusing on the “Word of the Week” which so far has included the words Comfort, Calm, Conquer and Success. After defining the word and writing it in their notebooks, everyone shares an example and clarifies that Success isn't about Winning. It could simply be about “Showing Up.”
Clients continue to learn about the remaining emotions, Sadness, Anger and Fear, with discussions that give them an opportunity to show moral support for each other. They have commented that the best part about writing is coming up with words that start with the letters within the emotions (F=Friends/Florida/Fred/fun etc.). A new Prep record was made with 125 words that were thought of when they used the letters G, O, L, F during last week’s elective. The free blank notebooks given out at the last ‘Store’ could be used during the break for the same exercise so you can share in the fun!
Reading continues to focus on a few theme-related books about emotions and feelings with repeating words and sentences to help identify words they might see on a regular basis. Of course, the Choose Your Own Adventure theme in the different endings within Inside Out is a novel some of the clients are still enjoying. Through the group voting process (“Should we follow Fear or should we follow Joy?”) they are learning what “majority rules” means. Some of them are adding their own flavour and acting out some of the voices while reading adding a fun element for everyone listening. Wonderful efforts by all this semester!
Math: Visual Comparisons with Pie Charts
During the final weeks of Math Rotations at Prep to Step-Up, the Clients have been finishing up their Chore Pie Charts. Each section of the ‘Pie’ represents a coloured-in rating of the score they give a particular chore that they might do regularly at home. The bigger the section shown, the higher the rating for that chore. Ratings on how much they liked a chore overall ranged from 0-5; 0 was no colour, 5 was a quarter of the Pie Chart. Each chore was assigned a different colour. Clients could visually see which chore rated the most popular. Discussions followed!
Clients can use this information to get a better understanding of how much they like each chore compared to others in their math group; how each felt about the chore, how they were affected by each other’s chore ratings and how their feelings changed between starting and completing a difficult chore.
We quickly transitioned into talking about our donation/sharing jar. This is one of the three jars that help us budget what we earn at Prep to Step-Up; Save (Bank), Spend (The Store) and Share (Donate). Clients learned how different organizations and people may need different things other than money and how giving time, for example, is an easy and free way to help others. All monies donated since Spring Semester 2019 to the completion of Spring 2020 will be given by Prep to Step-Up to a non-profit decided and chosen democratically by the Clients themselves.
The Store went spectacularly again last Thursday, where every Client got to work and shop in The Store and bring home lots of different items that they purchased through working and earning money each day at Prep. There were diverse and far-ranging items available for purchase. Every Client ensured that they themselves and everyone else had an organized, smooth and fun experience to round off the final "regular" week.
Science: A Detailed Digestion Description
What a busy semester it has been in science! After starting with the 'boss' of our body and learning about the brain, we moved on to the digestive system. Our goal was to gain a better understanding of the path that food takes as it travels through our bodies. We put our sequencing skills to work as we learned one step at a time; mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, and large intestine.
As we wrote and drew each new body part, we were able to add to our literacy skills and also develop a visual representation of our knowledge. Our life-sized body outlines have become so detailed throughout the semester! We have also done some great (and sometimes gross!) hands-on experiments including the stomach demonstration which allowed us to see how acid breaks down food. These experiments provide an opportunity to practice making predictions and observations. They have also generated some great questions and discussions.
We are looking forward to sharing our food skills with everyone on Celebration Day with some more cooking activities during the final week of the semester.
Art: Respect the North
In Art, we included creating a visual for demonstrating the need for practicing ‘personal space’. Using concentric circles, Clients chose colours and textures to illustrate the concepts of ‘Self’, ‘Too Close’ and ‘Just Right’.
Drawing the Raptor’s Logo was one of our most popular art projects this Semester. Step-by-Step the Clients used templates, rulers and paint to reproduce the iconic symbol.
The Toronto Raptor’s slogan, “Respect the North”, gave us inspiration for the second side of our portfolios. Another triumph!!!
Mosaics were applied to trophy-shaped pictures for Clients to create as an award for themselves. Everyone is a winner at Prep to Step-Up!
Skills-at-Will: Rain Sticks and The Special Olympics
Throughout the last few weeks in Skills-at-Will we’ve been exploring the theme of Fear. We experienced the ways in which we overcome fear in order to be successful.
We created Rain Sticks which, when up-ended, allow the lentils placed inside to fall to the other end of the tube. This creates a calming sound reminiscent of rain falling. Rain Sticks can be beneficial in dealing with our fear by turning the stick and listening to the soothing sound of the rain. We can also count while we turn the stick and wait for all the lentils to fall.
In co-ordination to the rain sticks, we have also been exploring coping skills; how certain emotions can be viewed or portrayed. These include different ways we can act as an individual as well as recognizing our peers’ emotions.
In Skills-at-Will we have been trying to review and understand our emotions as much as possible. What they look like, how we show them and what affect they may have on each other has been discussed. This includes how we cope, what makes us feel better and how to attain positivity throughout the process.
Positive Affirmations have also been a highlight throughout this Semester to co-ordinate with the S.A.V.I.S. Presentations, maintaining positivity in our explorations while we are upset or not feeling quite like ourselves. We also incorporated The Special Olympics, speaking of which sports we played and what seasons they would be played in for The Special Olympic timelines during a year. We then illustrated our discoveries during our Olympic-Themed Elective Thursday! There were lots of smiles and giggles during the games as well as throughout the Semester!