Tears. Fears. Smiles. Worries.
Then laughing crept in, and hugging. Children learned the routine and bonded with teachers. They sang the ‘Days of the Week’ song on their own. Parent goodbyes became quick.
In my ‘gazillion’ years of teaching, it always amazes me how quickly things shift in just a few days. Children are resilient.
Here is the newsletter I sent to families at the end of Week One:
We had a wonderful first week of school! In just a few short days, your children have connected with teachers and with each other. It feels good. It feels like we’re a family. Children are belly-laughing, sharing stories, making friends, and finding comfort in the routine of the day. There are so many little moments that bring us together- singing the Days of the Week song, listening to a Jennie Story at lunch, snuggling with Heidi and a book.
Perhaps the children said it best today, We sang the Daily Schedule while looking at the cards on the chart. The teacher asked each child which part of the day they liked best. There were many answers, and we stopped to talk about each one- from playtime, to lunch, to outside play. Finally it was said, “All of them!” Everyone agreed.
Why is connecting so important? In order to learn and focus, a child needs to be socially and emotionally comfortable. In other words, learning to count or write happens after a child is ready and has connected. It looks like the Aqua Roomers are well on their way to a great year of learning!
As the year goes on, there will be many ‘moments’. They are the lightbulbs of discovery- from learning to write, to figuring out how to build, to becoming engrossed in our chapter reading. Those ‘moments’ will occur because I have connected with children. That happens (most often) at lunch and snack, eating together around the big table.
That’s when we become a family.
That’s when when children talk about their pets and their grandparents. That’s when we have big discussions- like the moon or spiders. Really, we have laughed and cried and debated together. Thank goodness!
Here’s proof that it makes a difference:
A study was done in the 80’s to see if there was a common denominator among National Merit Scholars. Surely they were all captains of sports teams or academic clubs. Nope. The one and only common denominator was that they had dinner together with their family at least four times a week. Wow!
My connecting with children at school is a big win socially and emotionally, and also a big win academically.