Students and teachers are gearing up for winter break and excitement is running high! It is hard to believe we have completed the first four months of school and we are approaching a new year. I am thankful to my class parents for partnering with me through Bloomz to assure their child has a happy and healthy educational experience. I learned a great deal of valuable insight at our conferences and am excited to continue this work in 2018.
After the winter performances and class parties are over we spend time with the people we love to ring in the new year. One challenge of the holiday season is that we often lose sight of ourselves. Some of us are energized by social gatherings while others find it affects our energy in a negative way. If you are in a social setting and feel drained or anxious, take a 10 minute break and do something to bring yourself back to a centered space. Allow children to do this as well. Practice deep breathing by dropping your shoulders and breathing out slowly. Students, teachers, and parents alike should keep these key points in mind for holiday self-care:
- Spend a few minutes each day to quietly do something you love
- Get up a bit earlier than everyone else and sip some tea
- Take a walk during the day
- Allow time for small moments of relaxation like a bath or inspirational reading
- Play music that is grounding to you
As winter break comes to a close parents may notice children becoming uneasy about the prospect of going back to school. It is common to see some of the same anxieties from the first day of school show up again. Teachers are prepared for this familiar scenario. One thing parents can do to ease back in is check the Bloomz app with their child. Teachers using Bloomz have the ability to make connections before that first day back. Many of us keep in touch in non-academic ways by posting photos from vacation or encouraging students to post about what they are reading. I've even heard of a teacher facilitating real-time assignments to stay connected over break like a treasure hunt photo competition among students. Teachers will send a message through Bloomz right before school resumes in January to say something like, "I can't wait to see everyone at school tomorrow!". They might post videos or links to upcoming assignments so that students have a preview of what is to come. Parents should show students the welcoming message before returning to help with anxiety. In my class we will ease back in on January 2nd by sharing about our winter break and catching up with fun team building activities before jumping into challenging academic content areas. In many ways, returning to the classroom in January is like stepping foot into the classroom at the beginning of the school year. The only difference is that the focus is on re-establishing relationships and remembering where we left off.
Teachers and parents can't plan the moods of students on that first day back but we can reach out and connect over Bloomz to show we care. There are unanticipated learning opportunities to come in 2018 and I am excited to open my mind to them! I look forward to strengthening the relationships with my class parents and hearing the wonderful stories from students about winter break. From my classroom at West Seattle Montessori to yours, Happy New Year!