2020 – the year that has kept on giving.
It’s fair to say there has been an air of uncertainty with almost everything in 2020, especially for parents of school aged children.
With the rapidly rising number of positive COVID-19 cases occurring daily and Christmas break coming to an end, many parents are wondering: What do I do? Will my child be behind if I go the virtual route? Am I stunting his social and emotional growth by isolating him? Safety or education?
Unfortunately, there is no definite answer. But there are things to keep in mind that may ease our minds a little.
You’ve probably heard the term “unprecedented times” thrown around a lot lately. Yet, have you considered the fact that these are not unprecedented times for our children? To them, these times are just these times.
For very young kids, the knowledge that school is usually done differently is not something they even possess.
For our children, whatever route we choose for them is as valid as any other experience. With adequate support from home and their (on-line or in person) teachers, they can gain confidence in the feeling that everything will be OK. But we must have that confidence first.
And everything will be OK.
Maggie Dent, an Australian author, said, “The needs of children have not changed; it is just that the world has changed around them.”
Of course, we want our children to be prepared for a successful future. But there are limits on how much we can do. Realistically, preparation comes from within — it comes from the inner power of our children. We can provide the experience and the tools, but its effectiveness depends on how an individual child engages with it.
Children are like sponges: They are wired to soak up and learn everything in their environment. As parents, we just have to make sure the environment we choose for them is safe, supportive, encouraging and conducive to learning.
So parents, as we head into 2021, keep in mind this letter from educational blogger Dr. Catherine Watter:
Don’t stress about school work. I will get your children back on track. I am a teacher and that’s my superpower.
What I can’t fix is social-emotional trauma that prevents the brain from learning. So right now, I just need you to share your calm, share your strength and share your laughter with your children.
No kids are ahead. No kids are behind.
Your children are exactly where they need to be.
All the teachers of the world
Heather Williams is a retired elementary teacher with 25+ years in the Vicksburg Warren School District. In addition to writing for the Vicksburg Daily News, she currently teaches at Agape Montessori Christian Academy.