Did anyone get my Alice Cooper reference? School's out for summer is a celebrated song but what about when school starts again?
Long days, hot sun, days at the beach, family vacations and staying up late oh my! That is what children look forward to with the words "summer vacation". Do you remember your summer vacations growing up? Do you recall the feeling at the end of the school year; more importantly do you remember the feeling that you had when you realized that no matter how hard you wished- school was starting again. I think it is safe to say that many children do not look forward to summer ending and school beginning. I hope to alleviate that feeling a bit.
Think for a second about a childhood summer. I think it may equal bliss. Early elementary children don't truly have a complete grasp of time, suddenly they are expected to transition from their summer bliss to bed times, early mornings and time away from their family. I have not even mentioned the change of behavior expectations that are often associated with the start of the school year. This is a lot to ask of children.
I hear this questions quite often during this time of year- "how do I prepare my child for the start of school?" My answer is a simple one. Children should not have to" be prepared" for this transition, it is my job as a facilitator to recognize the simple fact that children need time to transition, at least three weeks in my opinion. It is also my belief that I should embrace their summer energy. Many traditional schools seem to fight the natural energy of children at every turn. Sit down, line-up, raise your hand and stop running are common themes. I believe in the opposite, I believe in balance. True learning can only occur when children are engaged, focused and interested. A school should be designed to use the children's energy and excitement to enhance their learning. All day I was sitting in my classroom doing the things that need to get done before children arrive and all I could think about was how much I can't wait for this empty classroom to be full of child energy.