Tuesday, May 19, 2015

A Letter to our Preschool Students!

Dear Sweet Five-year Olds:

Not too very long ago, when you were mostly 4 and a half, it began. Miss Julie and I put the final touches on our colorful and cosy room; books were in the book corner, your beloved Legos stored neatly in the drawers, yellow pencils with bright orange erasures waited to be held in your little hands, colorful scissors waited to be pinched between your fingers.

"Make the scissors bite like a shark" we would remind you throughout the year.  "Go choose a book from the book corner" or "let's all work together to clean up our room!"  The echoes of our incredible year together keep bouncing through my mind.

Miss  Julie and I were so eager to meet you and begin our journey together. We had so much to teach you, and the year stretched ahead like a ribbon of highway disappearing in the distance.  So how have we reached the end of our year so quickly?

You have been the most incredible group of students.  You have challenged and stretched Miss Julie and I more than we ever imagined.  We have learned so much from the twelve of you, much more than we ever expected! 

Your curious minds--Zander, Peter and Owen's questions at circle time about dinosaurs or meteors or carnivores!  Your abilities to grasp BIG ideas--Jack on religion, or Lucia on global awareness.  Your kindness and compassion for one another--Beau, Landon and Veronica, doing all you could to make Ava feel special before she moved away. Your enthusiasm for trying something new--Nathan and Franco, who embraced every learning activity and encouraged others to do them same.  Or your complete ability to live in the moment and fill the room with laughter and kindness--Emily and Ava!  All of your stories and questions and jokes and giggles have filled our room with so much fun and filled our hearts with wonderful memories.

All these lessons we hold dear in our hearts, as we say Goodbye and Thank you.  You all are amazing, bright, compassionate, curious, and wonderful children who will be a gift to your kindergarten teachers and beyond.  Thank you to your dear families for sharing you all with us this year, and know that we are better teachers today because of all of you!

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

It is imperative that you give your child this...

Free Time!  Children need free time.  They need time to play.  They need time to go outside.  They need time to interact with other children--siblings and friends. They need time to 

They need free time.  They need to experience boredom and learn to combat it with imagination.

Give your children the gift of free time.  Put the electronics away.  Resist the temptation to sign them up for every club, class and activity.  There is value in free time.  Don't forget this.  You are giving your child a gift if they have some time to just PLAY!
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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

A Shout Out to my Husband

I teach preschool and when my students get dropped off via the carpool line, memories flash through my mind of all the mornings I spent rushing around getting my four children ready for school--lunches to pack, permission slips to sign, uniforms to wash, calendars to update, dentist appointments to schedule, and on and on and on.  My husband always left for the office on an early train, so this territory was exclusively mine.  

In spite of this, today's blog is a huge thank you to my husband, because even if he was able to escape on that early train, his presence in my life and the lives of our children has allowed me to be the mother and wife that I always wanted to be.  His love and support meant that I didn't have to face parenting alone. He was always prepared to listen and help me sort out an issue I was having with one of our children, and also let me vent when the monotony of being a stay at home mom crept in, or my list of household chores felt overwhelming.  He always affirmed the job I was doing as a mom; and appreciated my efforts to run our household and manage our children's lives.

In working with many single parents over the years in my parenting classes,and it is easy to see how truly difficult it is to parent flying solo.  This has reaffirmed to me how lucky I am to have this man as my husband and my children's father.  He is the rock of our family and his love and encouragement have been the biggest gift in my life.   

If you are in a happy marriage.  Take some time to let your spouse know how much they mean to you.  And let your children know, too.  A family built on the solid foundation of a happy marriage is something to be celebrated and appreciated.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Parents: This One Question Explains A Lot!

The cover art from my parenting handbook:  Available on Amazon.

Do your kids think of you as:

A.  Mean
B.  Cheap
C.  Stupid
D.  All of the above 

Moms and Dads:  You are not doing your job unless you have been thought of as all of the above by your kids at some point!  The correct answer is "D".

This kernel of wisdom was told to me by one of my fellow teachers (thanks, Nancy) and has stuck with me all week.  Truer words were never spoken!

Stay strong!  Parent with loving authority.  Your children want you to set limits and not try at any time to be their friend.  They want and need you to be their parent.
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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Awful Truth: Parents Need to Grow up!

Saturday evening a group of us went out to dinner at one of our favorite local restaurants. While we were eating, a little league team of boys in their red uniforms tumbled in along with a large group of parents.  I'm guessing that the boys were all about 9 or 10 years old.  That is when things started to get interesting.

The parents immediately seated the boys at a long table and then separated into a mom's table at one end and the dad's booth across the room.  And that is when the 'parental' interaction ceased.  

The parents did not look up from their respective sides of the room to give these boys ANY attention.  The boys held it together quite well for awhile, eating their pizza and generally behaving.  But as the time wore on, the hijinks began.  

It started with spit ball throwing and escalated to bits of food being thrown and soon it was becoming an all out food fight with chunks of bread being dipped in water glasses before getting launched.  The wait staff at the restaurant picked up on what was going on and creatively interceded with some materials to distract the boys and save the restaurant from utter destruction.  And all the while, the dozen or so parents were choosing to completely IGNORE their boys and their inappropriate behavior.

I and the other parents in my group were left scratching our heads.  When did it become acceptable to surrender your parental duties in a public place to strangers?  Why did these parents feel justified in ignoring their children?  I am baffled!  Are parents so lazy now that they truly have given up on trying to teach their children anything?  I do not blame these boys--the blame falls squarely on the immature and selfish parents who could not be bothered to monitor or even interact with their own kids.  What a shame!

Have you seen other examples of selfish and immature parents?
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