During the month of February, students at Gilles-Sweet Elementary will be taking part in the “Start With Hello” program at school during their PBIS PRIDE house meetings. The “Start With Hello” program is sponsored by the Sandy Hook Promise (SHP); a national, nonprofit organization based in Newtown, Connecticut.
“Start With Hello” teaches students the skills they need to reach out and include those who may be dealing with chronic social isolation and create a culture of inclusion and connectedness within their classroom, school or youth organization. Social isolation is the overwhelming feeling of being left out, lonely, or treated like you are invisible. Excessive feelings of isolation can be associated with violent behavior. Furthermore, young people who are isolated can become victims of bullying, violence, and/or depression.
Several activities are planned throughout the month of February for students in grades 1-5, including learning about and practicing ice breakers to prevent social isolation, making “Start With Hello” posters to greet students around the school, “No One Eats Alone Day” on February 9, and writing encouraging and kind messages on post-it notes to display in classrooms and on lockers.
Staff at Gilles-Sweet Elementary made this video for students with inspirational messages.
Students received bright green stickers and bracelets with “Start with Hello” as a reminder to practice these skills.