For the last three years the Club has had a focus on social and emotional learning in our enhancement programs.  In our mixed age, mixed gender and mixed school environment we provide the perfect situation for our members to learn team work, leadership, empathy, compassion and frankly, how to get along with each other.  We love how students from different schools find friendship together here at the Club, and how programs such as Junior Youth of the Year encourage others to step up as leaders and come into their own.  However, we still feel that as a whole our members could do better in the areas of empathy, kindness towards others and speaking and acting in a respectful way.
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To some manners may seem an old fashioned concept, but nothing brings me more joy than when a child holds the door open for me, or when we witness an unrewarded act of kindness between members.  It makes me equally sad when I watch Lindsey hand out snack and so few of our members say thank you.  And manners aren’t just important for the other person, they are also incredibly important to our own sense of self-worth; they determine how people react to us physically and verbally, and can be make or break when it comes to employment, promotions, relationships and general lifetime success.  So in 2019 we are taking the focus a step further and have declared it to be ‘the year of manners’ at the Club and this is what we are going to do.
1. We will be actively encouraging the use of ‘please’ and ‘thank you’.  In particular we will focus on the members saying thank you when they are given something and please when asking a staff for something.  Our goal is for please and thank you to be the norm by January 2020.
2. Members will be held accountable for the way in which they speak to each other and staff.  Even if the words aren’t hurtful, tone of voice can be just as damaging, and members will be called out for speaking in a disrespectful way.
3. For our older members we will include a discussion of manners in their programming.  Senior Lopez has for a number of years taught ‘manners matter’ at Bijou and we will extend that program to main site.
4. We will praise and reward members when they are polite and kind to one another.  When disagreements happen (it is a natural part of growing up), we will ask members to voice their feelings in a kind and respectful way, and to empathize with how the other child might be feeling.
5. And we will make sure that our staff are held to the same standards.  Manners are best taught by role modelling and we will always do our best to speak respectfully, greet kindly, and act in a way that makes members feel good about us and themselves.
And you too can help us by also encouraging manners at home.  It can be hard when you are tired or busy, but a simple reminder to say please and thank you, and by speaking kindly to your child  (even when they are driving you up the wall!) will have a huge impact upon their self-worth and future success.
“Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see” Mark Twain.