Spring is Springing (And How I Can Tell)
If you are new to Idaho you may be asking yourself, “What is this strange season we are experiencing?” Well, my friends, this is spring, Idaho style. There are a few sure-fire indicators that this transitory season is upon us. When you look outside and see the wind blowing kindergarteners like tumbleweed across the playground. When trees leaf out during the day and are covered in frost the next morning. When Zamzows’ inventory of new plants and flowers begs you to buy, and the sales associate tells you it’s too early. But you do not even have to go outside to tell it’s spring. A stroll through the hallways of the school will tell you as well. It is the time of year when young boys are staring longingly out the windows (even more than usual), junior-highers are promising their teachers their first-born child if they can just go outside, the lines walking down the hallways remind you of an ‘80’s mullet haircut (business in the front, party in the back), and a third of the class is absent on Friday and Monday. But in case you think we will never emerge from this wardrobe of shorts and puffy jackets, have no fear. Summer is just around the corner: The season where you can get heat stroke and hypothermia in the same day in many parts of the state.
If we are slogging and trudging to make it through the school year in February, we are frolicking and tumbling through it in April. So with grass stains on my knees and bits of mulch in my beard, I offer you a top seven list of best habits for thriving during these last seven weeks of school.
1. Keep a consistent routine. To paraphrase and crudely apply the Second Law of Thermodynamics, we know that order tends toward disorder until an irreversible order is achieved in the chaos. We also know that children thrive in a safe, clean, predictable environment, even though it seems like they wake up every morning with a hundred new ideas of how to challenge that. Make sure your home and school routines are consistent through these next few weeks. Take some time to double down on putting things in order for the good of your kids.
2. Come to school. Spring break is still visible in the rear view mirror and summer is just around the corner. Our teachers need every minute we have between now and the end of the school year. Please refrain from taking trips and three-day weekends. It is really hard on the students and really hard on the teachers.
3. “Finish strong, persevere, don’t give up, stay engaged.” I surveyed several teachers, asking them what advice they would want parents to be giving their kids during these last few weeks and there were several variations on this same theme.
4. Mind the housekeeping. Lots and lots of stuff is going on and there are widening cracks for things to fall through. Pause before you hit the delete button on the Office Notes email or ParentSquare message from your teachers. With nicer weather more and more kids want to stay after school to play, go home with other families, and walk or ride their bikes home. To make sure we are keeping everyone safe: 1.) Please review your RenWeb account and make sure it is up-to-date with who is allowed to pick up your kids. 2.) Let the office and the child’s teacher know if your child is going home with another family. 3.) Fill out a walk home release if your child is walking or riding their bike home. 4.) Pick up your child in the designated places if you are not going through the car line.
5. Plenty of sleep: This tip comes from Mrs. Fedorchuk. This time of year she sees more sleepy students and more tardies as children want to stay up later with the longer days. Rested, alert minds are so important to all of us, but especially to developing children.
6. Be part of their education: This tip comes from Mrs. Gilpin who sees a huge difference in students who have dinner conversations with their parents about what they are learning. Some low hanging fruit to get the conversations started is to ask them to tell you stories about their History and Literature reading, ask them how they can apply their grade level theme right now, and ask them how they can live out the catechism questions they have learned. Our partnership with parents is ideally a perfect circle of home and school application of education.
7. Work hard and play hard. This tip comes from Mrs. Warmouth who finds that children respond well to giving her 100% when there is hope of having time to play. She likes to quote Martin Luther who famously said, “The world is like a drunken peasant. If one helps him into the saddle on one side, he will fall off on the other side.” — Martin Luther (Luther’s Works, vol. 54, pg. 111). Rather than falling into the discouraging ditch of all work and no play, or the coddling ditch of all play and no work, our Christian kids need to embrace the value of giving their all to both.
So, there you have it. Let’s put on our flip-flops and NorthFace beanies and together we can get our kids quoting the words of the Apostle Paul to Timothy: “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”
We appreciate you all.
Dean of Grammar School