Although the school year is still fresh, we know it can be challenging. Luckily, Kathleen from “Sunshine and Lollipops” has a few tips that can help your students (and you) stay in a great frame of mind throughout the year. Take it away, Kathleen…
In today’s fast paced world of quick breakfasts before the school bus and “let’s get up and get moving before we’re late,” there is not much room for children to ease into their day and notice the beauty and magic around them.
If students are running late, Mom or Dad are dressing them in their practice uniform while they are eating dinner and tying shoes, all the while attempting to dash out the door. It all sounds hectic and a bit impossible. I would know, as this used to be a common occurrence for my young family when my three children were little. In fact, they were so involved in school, sports and other extracurricular activities that I look back on those days and wonder how I did all of this with a traveling husband and really not much support to get them back and forth. Although our world was not as techie as today’s, we did have cable tv, Pac-Man, Frogger and some other types of computer games to compete for attention!
So where am I going with this? As teachers, we must realize what our families and little ones are up against in this fast paced world, so that when they come to school, they feel safe, calm and can feel like they are in a nurturing and relaxed place. We want to emphasize that school is a world where they do not have to feel stressed or overwhelmed and they can be at their very best.
Here are a few tips that you can put into place on the first day that will give your kiddos a relaxed haven from the chaos they often find themselves in:
- As students come into the classroom, greet them at the door to make them feel special.
- Have soft classical music playing. You will be surprised at the calmness it brings and how parents notice this calming music. I always enjoyed hearing children humming the music as they unpacked and got ready for the day! Some classical musicians who have calming pieces: Brahms, Wagner, Pachelbel, Handel, Chopin and Bach to name a few, but I would suggest listening to the works before just hitting “Play.”
- Many teachers give their students morning work to complete, which is fine. However, what I have done over the years is given students a soft landing time. During this time, the kiddos can chat calmly, buddy read, read to self, work on an activity that needs to be finished, pick a morning worksheet to complete, buddy write or complete their classroom job (attendance, calendar, lunch count, etc.).
- Our schedule was not very conducive to calmness as within 15 minutes of arrival time, our teachers were in our classrooms ready to start their lesson. In order to address this issue and create a calmness before the kiddos jumped into working with their teachers, we would gather on the rug and “Pass a Smile,” allowing for a fun activity before we got to the business of learning. This only took a few minutes and supported a calm feeling before they got to work.
- Add daily quiet time to your schedule. Schedule 5-10 minutes after your recess or at a time you notice your class seems to need a break. During this time, the children listen to calm music and can do any activity within your rule framework independently. Some ideas are: Relax and listen to the music, read, color, draw, write, or catch up on work. This time is a time to relax and refocus for the rest of the day.
- Add brain breaks into your day to help the children to refocus, relax, and be ready to move on with their day.
I hope you find these ideas helpful. They are all tried and true, and they have helped hundreds of children stay calm in our hectic world.
I will leave you with this one thought: During those calm and quiet moments, we give ourselves time to think and understand, come up with ideas to inspire others, become our best selves and prepare to learn what the world has to offer.
Have a fun-tastic school year and stay calm!
P.S. You may want to try some of these suggestions for yourself as well!