Most of you are beginning (or are preparing to begin) your new school year. Everyone is refreshed and ready to jump into this new educational adventure. In your preparations, many of you will ask, “What is the best way to start this new school year?”
One aspect that should be emphasized: there is truly nothing more important than instilling the love of learning into a child – especially during the formative years. Oak Meadow fully recognizes this need and provides coursework that offers inspirational ways to experience the joy of learning. It emphasizes teaching through artistic expression and hands-on exploration, which is what young children love to do most.
Another key to successful schooling and healthy development is to guide and support your children in a positive manner. Finding opportunities to praise them for their efforts is essential and constructive for fostering self-esteem and self-confidence. Children are like sponges and absorb everything, so keep in mind how you present your tone of voice, your body language, and your every expression. Praising their efforts, rather than giving “constructive criticism” or comparing them unfavorably with other children, will bring a sense of pride and individual achievement. There will be plenty of time for constructive feedback later – either later in the year or when they are older.
Last but not least, be with your children. Spend quality time together each day. Do little things that will make them feel special. Start the day off with a pancake that is formed into a happy face. Write a little love note and place it into the next page of the main lesson book. When your child begins to lose focus with a lesson, take the time to exhale and go for a hand-in-hand walk. When your child asks you a question, become fully present. Put down whatever you’re doing and give your complete attention, for giving focused attention will benefit you, as the parent, as much as it will benefit your child.
Diana Loomans, a speaker, author, success coach, and founder of The Quantum Life Institute, once stated: If I had my child to raise all over again, I’d build self-esteem first, and the house later. I’d finger-paint more, and point the finger less. I would do less correcting and more connecting. I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes. I’d take more hikes and fly more kites. I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play. I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars. I’d do more hugging and less tugging.
Starting this new school year with an excitement for learning, with communication that is positive, and with quality focus time will be rewarding for both you and your children. Our children grow so fast, so embrace and live each moment to its fullest!