Last spring, I joined my daughter Journey's fifth grade class as a volunteer on her field trip. I had the pleasure of watching a classmate approach Journey who was taking photos of a museum exhibit. The classmate suggested she turn off the camera flash; he was concerned that it could trigger one of her seizures. I was overcome with pride and appreciation for the caring, supportive community we have created in partnership with the school administration.
On the first day of school when the class list was posted, I was shocked to discover that my son had absolutely zero former classmates in his class. None. Not one. Across the playground, there were quite a few other kids in tears after discovering that their best or closest friends would not be in their new class, either.
My daughter Journey will not live on a shelf. We may not be able to protect her from every seizure risk and she may incur some injuries now and then, but she will live life fully and share diverse experiences as a result of the collaborative efforts of her family, friends, educational team, and community.
When you place your precious loved one on the bus in the morning or drop them off at our classroom doors, we want you to know, parents: we do not take this responsibility we've been given lightly. And might I add, when those dear ones are returned to you again, when those precious children arrive home at the end of the day, we won't stop caring.
Some parents, my husband and I included, are eager to ship their kid off to school. But some children need more time to get in the proper mindset of heading back to the classroom. I think with the right preparation most kids can feel eager to head back to the schoolyard. Here are some tips for parents and kids alike to get excited about the school year.
After moving when I was 16, I was enrolled in a brand new school, close to our new home. My new teacher, Mr. T, was unforgettable. What I remember now as a teacher myself was his smile. His laughter. And I remember that he saw me. There are times in our service as teachers when we set aside the habitual act of doing for the sacred work of being.
When a mom in Manitoba sent her two kids to school with homemade lunches that included roast beef, potatoes, carrots, oranges and milk, she was shocked to receive a note from the school telling her that their lunches were deemed "unbalanced" and were supplemented with Ritz crackers. The school follows the strict guidelines of what many believe to be a very outdated Canada's Food Guide and felt that the "grains" category had been neglected. To add insult to injury, this mom was fined $10 for her oversight. I'm confused, and if I was this mom, I would be livid.
Halloween celebrations are cancelled at one Ontario school. No candy, no costumes, no fun. The reasoning behind this puzzling decision is supposedly one of inclusiveness, according to school administrators. The decision of the school board to cave in to these demands is political correctness on steroids.
As young as Grade 3, kids are under pressure to wear the right clothes, like the right music, have the right friends and be cool. Often, that leads to stress and anxiety for youngsters. Well-intentioned parents often try too hard to prevent the bumps and scrapes of feelings as kids grow up, but one parenting expert says they're doing more harm than good.
It's senior kindergarten. My son is five. We don't need calculators or binders. Heck, we don't even need pencils or paper. So why have I got this feeling in the pit of my stomach that I've forgotten something? And now I'm writing this post as my to-do list as we ease back into the routine in which most kids thrive and most parents rejoice. Maybe it'll help you, too.
Our school lost a shining light this week. A little boy -- six years old. He, the lover of hockey, fishing and fun, was taken suddenly, leaving our school community grappling with life and death issues. In my classroom, I turned to the one sure thing I knew could shed some light, love and laughter on an otherwise dark cloud that hovered low. Your books.
To paraphrase John Locke in his Essay on Human Understanding, we want to be lovers of the truth; we want rational knowledge, we want proofs. And we want probability to help us assent to matters, where we do not have sufficient knowledge and proofs to ground our reason. And we want our ethics, which is the seeking out those rules and measures of human actions, which lead to happiness, and the means to practice them.
We sit, huddled tightly together in the cramped space of a corner. The blinds are darkly drawn, the door is shut. Locked. Little bodies press in close together to the wall. I place my body as a barrier along the tips of their tiny feet, all the while smiling into anxious children's eyes and modelling breathing.