Soon school will be over for another year. The hall ways become still and the classrooms will rest. Teachers and educational staff will take a much needed break after a year of learning, wonder and amazing adventures.
Our students aren’t always happy about having two months off…heck, some of us aren’t either; two full months of being away from the consistency of routines we all know and depend upon, 5 days per week. How do we prepare ourselves and our students for summer holidays? How do we prepare to walk beyond the ripples of school and into the ebb and flow of summer?
In this day of technology and lightening fast responses from our devices and social media, it appears, at times, too difficult to slow down. What ever happened to stopping and smelling the roses or living out the words to the old Simon and Garfunkel tune “Slow down! You move too fast. You gotta make the morning last…”?
Although we live in an age of speed, I believe there are things we can do to prepare ourselves and our students to walk beyond the ripples and enjoy a dip into the wonder of summer.
1. Disconnect or set your device to silent. I did this over a year ago after sustaining a concussion and it lowered my anxiety a fair bit. Encourage your students to disconnect, to take a break, to look up, to see the wonders around them. It is amazing how much you miss when you are looking down and not up to the stars!
2. Get outside. Whether you are a child or adult, being out in nature everyday has a positive effect on our well-being. Go for a hike, spend time at the beach or walk the dog around the neighborhood. The activity doesn’t matter, but getting out into nature does…and leave your phone at home!
3. Have an old fashioned play date or picnic. Reach out to a friend you may not have connected with in a while. Suggest a picnic in the park or near the local river. Start a ripple effect with an old friend. The feeling you get from a good conversation and connection is priceless.
4. Read a book…or two!
5. Plan random acts of kindness throughout the summer. A good friend and I meet frequently for breakfast. Our conversations ebb and flow between work as educators and life outside of school. It is always a time that we both look forward to. During our breakfasts, we always have the same awesome server…you know the one? She brings you your coffee and tea, with milk, without having to ask and always accompanies it by wearing a big morning smile.
Tomorrow we shall gift her with a Thank You card and some handmade dishcloths that I have knit. We will also include a tip in the card as our way of saying thank you for your kindness. We appreciate the effort you put into making our breakfasts enjoyable. This small random act of kindness is simple but I am so excited about it happening…I hope the ripples of this small act spread throughout her day and into her weekend because she deserves it!
Whatever we do to encourage and prepare our students and staff to walk beyond the ripples will have a positive effect. Hopefully it will be a summer of wonder, reconnecting with friends and memories of beautiful sunsets.