Why We Use Kimochis
Welcome to a new and exciting school year! This year, we are continuing Kimochis, Toys with Feelings Inside, our character education and social-emotional learning program. Kimochi (Key-MO-chi) means "feeling" in Japanese. The curriculum is based on research that tells us that a strong social-emotional foundation is necessary for school success, academic achievement, positive social relationships and the development of emotional competence.
The Kimochis curriculum is designed to give students the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to recognize and manage their emotions, demonstrate caring and concern for others, establish positive relationships, make responsible decisions, and handle challenging situations constructively. We make it clear to our students that although Kimochis look like toys they are really communication tools that help children learn important life skills and develop self-esteem, confidence, and character! The curriculum will be taught in the classrooms by both classroom teachers and Ms. Keane, School Counselor.
There are seven Kimochis characters. Each character has a different personality and temperament just like our students! Each character has a communication strength and challenge. The Kimochis characters are a safe third-party that students can easily relate to. The Kimochis personalities help students consider their own strengths and weaknesses and seek ways to make improvements. Likewise, the characters encourage everyone to practice more patience and tolerance with others, we all have challenges in our communication!
The Kimochis Keys to Communication are at the heart of our program and provide the communication tools to help your child learn how to listen openly, make good choices, be willing to speak in respectful and responsible ways and be open to negotiating problems. (See the attached list of the 7 Keys to Communication and feel free to post it somewhere at home where your family will be reminded to practice the Keys). Feelings fuel behavior. The Keys will give your child concrete habits to help manage emotions and express upset feelings in positive ways.
We have added a new section to our school newsletter called the Kimochis Corner. Starting in October we will post the most recently taught communication skill along with ways you can reinforce and extend your child's learning at home with a Family Communication Challenge.
In this packet you will find a Glossary of Kimochis Vocabulary and the Keys to Communication. When school and home speak the same language, we speed up the learning for our children!
You may hear about students who own some of the Kimochis characters and/or feelings pillows. Though they have become quite popular with some of our students, it is very important for you to know that your child does not need to buy or own any of the Kimochis materials in order to benefit from the program.
Finally, we invite you to learn more about our Kimochis program by joining us on the yard each week at Wednesday morning intake at 8:40 a.m. when Ms. Keane and student helpers will present a short Kimochis lesson.
We are feeling excited about building a strong school to home connection this school year. We are eager to hear about all the new, positive ways your child is able to express feelings and be compassionate towards others. We hope Kimochis will be a great new addition to your family and bring fun and fantastic feelings into your home.
Willem Vroegh, Principal
Kristine Keane, School Counselor