Making a Child Feel at Home in School

"...He sprinkled me in pixie dust and told me to believe
Believe in him and believe in me 
Together we will fly away in a cloud of green
To your beautiful destiny
As we soared above the town that never loved me
I realized I finally had a family..."
-Ruth B

Childhood is so special yet fleeting. Childhood is so significant yet delicate. Other than at home, most children spend a lot of their time in schools. It therefore does not make any sense not to prepare well elementary school teachers. Often, future teachers are taught in college with material not expected to be covered in primary schools. It is the reason why a mathematics major in college is not necessarily qualified to teach math in grade school. As Jensen and coworkers note in “Not So Elementary: Primary School Teacher Quality in Top-Performing Systems”, there are required "specific knowledge and skills that make an effective elementary teacher". However, they only emphasize knowledge and skills that pertain to the academic content of basic education. Being a teacher in basic education goes much farther than teaching children how to do math and how to read. A child needs to see the school as home, and the teachers and classmates as family.

Here in Fairfax county, there is a summer program whose teachers make it quite difficult for me to take my own children home. They want to stay as long as they can with their friends and teachers. The summer program, described in a previous post on this blog, "Music, Arts and Physical Education", certainly helps my children to think of their school as their second home. In this program, for each week, a child can choose to be either an artist, a performer, or an athlete. My daughter likes to perform and the program provides her a great opportunity to work with other children. This week, she dances to the song "Lost Boy".

For the Video click here.

My daughter likes this song a lot. Perhaps, the song does highlight the needs and dreams of a child. In this performance, she needs not buy or bring a costume. It is provided. All she needs is confidence and determination, and her teachers help provide these as well. This year, the director at my children's site, Laurentia Blay, even goes out of her way to ensure that my children are eating well during lunch. When she finds something in the menu that the children really like, she safely stores the leftovers of the favorite item just in case some children do not like the meal the following day.