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Matt Allio

To Families on the Russia – Ukraine Conflict

Dear Trinity Families,

As we return to our campuses tomorrow, I suspect all of the parents/guardians and many of our students are aware of the Russia – Ukraine conflict.  This must be an exceedingly difficult time for families in our community who are from the region and have family and loved ones impacted. I can only express our care and compassion for you, and we will do all we can to support you.

This note intends to convey to you how the school approaches the conflict and to suggest resources to families to consider at home.

On both campuses, first and foremost, we are guided by our Episcopal identity, namely a culture represented by inclusion and respect, a sense of connectedness to something greater than ourselves, self-reflection, and social responsibility as children become citizens in the global village. This is embedded in our work and will be mirrored in our conversations with the children as their questions emerge.

Children will come with a wide range of information on our campuses – from being highly informed and engaged to knowing little or nothing. As a faculty and staff, we believe questions  naturally emerge from the students, and we will address those questions on a developmentally appropriate level. As campus directors, Sue Krishna and Colette McWilliams have provided resources for teachers to manage the questions at the different developmental levels. How we respond to a 4-year-old is clearly different from how we’d react to a Grade 4 student.  At Trinity, the teachers are well-resourced, collaborative, and seek help.  

For parents, and instead of sending you an overwhelming number of articles to consider, I’ll just take two.  

The first, New York Times:  How to Talk to Kids About Ukraine, has some key points that merge very well with what we do at school. Specifically:

 

  • Take Cues from Your Kid
  • Look for Signs that Your Child is Feeling Anxious
  • Don’t Bombard Kids with News or Scary Images
  • Get to the Root of Their Fear
  • Appease Their Concerns While Taking Them Seriously 

 The second, LifeHacker:  How to Talk to Kids and Teens About the Crisis in Ukraine, is another excellent article and addresses:

 

  • Take Stock of Your Own Emotions
  • How to Talk to Little Kids About Ukraine
  • How to Talk to Tweens About Ukraine

Finally, as a parent myself and recalling times with my 3 children when such conflicts occurred (Gulf War and Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Rwanda, Bosnia come to mind), we tried to take the mystery and misconceptions out of the region. We’d take out a map and locate the countries, determine the distance from where we were living, look up notable people in history from the country or region, view photos of the cities and rural areas, food, transportation systems, culture and traditions, essentially anything that provided a human context to the war or conflict. We did this not proactively but reactively if questions emerged from our children.

This is an unsettling time in our current world. I cannot overstate how important it is for our next generation of leaders – who will emerge from places like Trinity School – to learn the skills and continue to internalize compassion and empathy that will result in their collective bright future.

Matt

See Yourself at Trinity
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