By Ashley M. Casey
Each week, students in kindergarten through seventh grade are immersed in the lessons of the Positivity Project throughout the Baldwinsville Central School District. Now, two elementary school principals are bringing parents and the community into the P2 conversation. Van Buren Principal Danielle Nahorney and Palmer Principal Alex Ewing will present a Positivity Project curriculum night Nov. 7 at Baker High School.
After an overview of the Positivity Project from Nahorney and Ewing, parents and community members will attend their choice of two mini-workshops about promoting the Positivity Project’s character strength lessons at home.
“Now that we have our K-7 schools all on board promoting this opportunity through all of our buildings, we really wanted to share that responsibility with everybody we could to get this message out,” Nahorney said.
The character strengths on which the Positivity Project focuses are already part of the family values taught in many households, Nahorney said, so the curriculum night helps parents connect P2 language to what their kids are already learning in school and at home. By learning the vocabulary their children are using in school, parents can “try to use that language consistently” at home, Nahorney said.
Twenty-one teachers, social workers and administrators from across the district will lead the discussion. After Ewing and Nahorney open the event with an overview of the Positivity Project, Baker Assistant Principal Kris Denton will host a work session about implementing P2 lessons at Durgee Junior High School and Baker. Then, attendees can choose two 30-minute workshops. Among the offerings are:
• P2 on the Playing Field: Character strengths and athletes
• Self-Control: How to help your kiddo rein it in
• Using Books to Spark P2 Conversations at Home
All of the nine workshops are applicable to the K-5 experience, and three of them are relevant to all ages. Parents and community members can take the VIA Survey to discover their most prominent character strengths.
“[We’re] promoting the #OtherPeopleMatter mindset,” Nahorney said. “It’s important that we all work together to foster the best relationships we can have with everyone.”
Nahorney said social media, which began as a way to connect far-flung friends and ideas, has been warped to the opposite purpose, distancing and dividing people from one another.
“On Facebook, people get sucked into negative conversations or try to one-up each other,” she said.
The Positivity Project’s #OtherPeopleMatter tenet can inspire healthy communication and respect for others in real life and online, “making the positives so loud that they drown out the negatives,” Nahorney said.
While elementary schools comprise the majority of schools that participate in the Positivity Project, Nahorney said the “soft skills” P2 teaches — building healthy relationships, positive communication and emotional intelligence — are necessary in all stages of life and all types of careers.
“2030 is what we’re teaching our kindergarteners and first-graders to be prepared for,” Nahorney said. “As we’re educating our kids for jobs that don’t exist, they have to rely on some of those soft skills. They have to know how to have relationships and talk to one another.”