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Teach conflict resolution

Top overall student Atira Willoughby receiving her many prizes from Principal Angela Smith, while her parents, Leroy Willoughby and Carla Small assist.

Top overall student Atira Willoughby receiving her many prizes from Principal Angela Smith, while her parents, Leroy Willoughby and Carla Small assist.

Principal of the Gordon Greenidge Primary, Angela Smith, this morning admonished parents not to concentrate on their children’s academic success at the expense of their “social and emotional learning”.

“This involves their ability to understand, manage, and express the social and emotional aspects of their lives, in ways that will allow them to successfully manage life tasks such as learning, forming relationships and solving everyday problems,” she said at the school’s graduation.

She told parents that as their children entered secondary school, it would be critical that they learnt to avoid conflict or how to negotiate it peacefully.

“It is very disconcerting that some students, both males and females, seem to believe that the use of fists or weapons is the only way to resolve conflict. Such behaviours, and indeed all other types of bad or unfair behaviour, need to be firmly discouraged and met with zero tolerance by you.

“Alternative methods of dealing with conflict must be instilled within all children on a daily basis. This is normally done at school, through the teaching of values such as self-respect, self-love and self-esteem. However, the importance and teaching of these also need to be emphasised in the home, church and community,” said the school’s head.

Smith therefore told parents that they had a major role to play in the development of their children, and they must disapprove strongly of “inappropriate behaviour” by their children.

“You need to constantly and consistently set the example of peaceful conflict resolution in your homes, neighbourhoods, on your jobs and also when you visit your children’s schools in relation to matters that you may find displeasing. You must first set the standard that you want your children to achieve. They will watch and emulate you, so be sure that your behaviours are worthy of emulation,” she advised.

To students, she encouraged positive attitudes and to strive for excellence — a message espoused by guest speaker Maureen Belle.

Belle, an external assessor for the Ministry of Education, told children not to leave school in the same manner they arrived.

Telling them to have an appreciation for life, Belle said: “You must have a love for learning… The hard work that brings success can be enjoyable but it depends on your attitude … [and] your altitude depends on your attitude…

“If you have done your best then you can feel satisfied… Don’t wait ’til the end of Form Five to look back and asked what have I done,” she encouraged. (LB)

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