It has been inspiring to listen to our students talk about returning back to school. All the students I have talked with over the last week have just raved about seeing their friends and teachers again. The smiles are huge. They are all so happy to be back.
If you think about it there should be no wondering why. After over five months, this return to school is the first real and tangible piece of a return to normalcy for our children. Our children so desperately need this.
While this pandemic has disrupted our lives, it has also in essence put the development of our children on a five-month (or more) delay. This is an important time in their lives as they develop the academic(cognitive), physical, emotional and social skills/habits that will probably follow them for the rest of their lives. It will be interesting to see what impact, if any, this year will have on this generation.
Suddenly many parents are finding themselves having to take on a much more active role in “teaching” their children. We do not have the luxury of waiting around until this virus disappears and for others to come to the rescue.
Academically, even if you have elected to homeschool, we can probably leave most of the development of our children to the expert educators. They are true heroes for what they are being asked to do.
Physically, while most do get exercise and burn off energy with PE in school, recess, and play time, the true path to develop our children’s physical skills for a lifetime is: 1.) a long-term pursuit of a sport or physical activity, and/or 2.) a habit/mindset of daily rigorous physical activity. In essence it is the development of the habit, or better yet, the identity of being an “athlete”. Obesity and a physically passive unhealthy lifestyle are all too common. This is why we feel an important element of every karate class is a hard, repetitive workout. Along with the habit, this repetition teaches them grit(perseverance and persistence), and the skill of patience and mastering the mundane.
Emotional skills, start with the ability to be aware of your own feelings and the feeling of those around you. Then being able to make choices, self-regulate and self-manage. Using independence and resourcefulness. What will be interesting will be seeing the long-term effects of the constant, low-level of stress, anxiety and fear caused by this pandemic.
Social development, reminds me of a touching story I heard from a local kindergarten teacher. She was so saddened when she could tell one of her new young, little students wanted so badly to reach out to touch and hug her. She knew she really needed it but just could not for safety reasons. We are social beings. It will be interesting to see what this isolation, social distancing, electronic communication, and facial expressions hidden by masks will have on our children.
All things to think about as we navigate this new world.
Embrace the change. Stay strong. Be ready to pivot.
Yours for stronger kids,