Over the many years of my work in the school sector, I’ve become convinced that the most important singularity in any school, the biggest and most influential subject and living example for every student is the teacher. A great teacher is an incredible value for the school, children and parents. The work of a teacher is also a very sacrificial profession indeed. Being a teacher is a lifestyle, it is a destiny and a calling. Therefore, the work and service of a great teacher deserves the deepest respect, reverence, and gratitude. Undeniably, in essence, a great teacher tries to invest in his or her students not only academic knowledge, but also instill in them a sense of beauty, develop moral and aesthetic qualities in the soul of each child, and teach children to enjoy life. Even in the most difficult of life’s circumstances, teachers faithfully and obediently follow the pull of every great teacher’s heart – a heart dedicated to serving children. The ancient philosopher Socrates argued that every teacher has a sacred duty to seek and convey the truth, to excite the thought processes in children. Working as a school director for more than 20 years, I also have become convinced that a truly great teacher can almost fill the role of a third parent of a child, and sometimes the only “parent”, for example, for orphans when the child doesn’t have an adult or any caregiver who genuinely cares for them. Children never forget great teachers. After all, great teachers have a strong influence on their lives and therefore remain in children’s hearts forever. The work of a truly great teacher is priceless.
BULLYING IS ALWAYS SERIOUS
Children need to feel safe before they can learn. To make sure this happens, school boards have developed policies that bans harassment, intimidation and bullying. Bullying is repeated negative behavior that takes advantage of a less-powerful person, and sometimes even makes the child who is bullied feel at fault. Hitting, name-calling, shunning and shaming are all forms of bullying. So are spreading rumors, gossiping and making threats online or via cell phones (cyberbullying).The outcomes can be bad for both victim and aggressor. The child who is bullied may become depressed and anxious, patterns that can last a lifetime. Bullying and cyberbullying have resulted in some students refusing to go to school and/or experiencing anxiety, depression, and insomnia. In some cases, bullying and cyberbullying have tragic outcomes. The child who bullies, already abusing power at a young age, is more likely than others to engage in criminal behavior as an adult. Kids involved in bullying – in either role – also are at risk for abuse of alcohol, tobacco and illegal drugs. Be a model of assertive, respectful conduct for your child. Make sure the atmosphere in your home is warm, and spend focused time with your child every day. Provide discipline in consistent ways. Notice and praise your child’s good behavior. Get professional help for your child and your family if you do not see progress in a reasonable time. Talk with children in your family about bullying/ cyberbullying and your expectations about their behavior.
In this short excerpt, I want to draw the attention of our parents as well as our community to the important role that reading plays in the education and formation of a child’s personality. Children who can read well from an early age usually do better than their peers in other subjects as well. Furthermore, “children often do not like to read, who learned to do so late. The so-called ‘sensitive period’ (the period of development in which the body is especially sensitive and receptive to learning)” (I. Mamaeva) was missed. Over time, these children often stop reading completely, immerse themselves in social networks, and become addicted to video games and virtual “reality”. Passivity, neurological dependence, information diseases, low mental activity – these are just some of the negative consequences of a low reading culture. For reading is not only an aesthetic pleasure; reading is also the intellectual, mental, spiritual development of the child. By reading, they develop the parts of the brain responsible for imagination, for analytical and abstract thinking, and for generating new ideas and discoveries. “If the brain is constantly used and trained, then there is a biological increase in the solidity, density and complexity of intercellular connections, i.e. the human intellect grows” (T. Buzan). And most importantly, while reading, children develop a moral attitude towards the world. The heroes of the books do different things, make different decisions – a child can discuss all this with a parent or teacher, while forming an understanding of good and evil, friendship and betrayal, sympathy and compassion for others, duty and honor. That is why it is so important to instill a love of reading in your child from an early age.
TEACHING KIDS KINDNESS AND EMPATHY
We have come upon a wonderful time of year when we show our appreciation and love for the people around us. It is hard to believe that the school year is almost half-way over. It seems like just yesterday that we are welcoming our students to a brand new school year and now Christmas and the New Year are upon us. It is a time that we spend reflecting upon many blessings that we have in our lives. THIS IS ALSO A SEASON OF GIVING AND TEACHING OUR CHILDREN HOW TO SHOW COMPASSION, KINDNESS AND GENEROSITY FOR OTHERS. During this wonderful season of giving and showing gratitude, I would like for all of us to think of those less fortunate, and to somehow make them feel the warmth and the love that is so symbolic of the Christmas season. It could be something as small as providing a toy for a needy child, or a blanket to the homeless person on the street corner, the possibilities are endless. Help out at the local food shelter or your church with the whole family. Shop for some gifts for a family you know doesn’t have the opportunity to do so for themselves this year. Give lots of compliments, smile, and spread kindness and love this Christmas season. “Christmas is not as much about opening our presents as opening our hearts!” (Janice Maeditere). I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Enjoy this festive season and whatever it represents to you and your family.
A significant correlation has been established between direct parent involvement and a school’s overall high rate of success. Therefore, the school does not assume total responsibility for education of the student; it is vital that a consistent approach be developed and agreed upon by parents, students and staff. I do believe that to be effective, schools need the support of parents. The relationship between the student, parent and the teacher is the most significant predictor of student learning. A student who knows that the parent communicates on a regular basis with their teacher, and who knows that their parents trust the teacher, will likely put more effort into school. Good communication between teachers and parents does not just happen. It requires parent involvement and communication skills. I have a dream that there will be a day when all schools will finally get all parents to come to school for school events, conferences, serve on parent committees, and actively participate in their children’s education. Whatever it takes – our kids are worth it.
PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND SPORT
Modern children spend a lot of time on social media, watching TV and playing video games. Because of this, they lead a sedentary lifestyle and do not spend enough time outdoors. Moreover, many children become addicted to the virtual world and lose interest to real life, education, outdoor games, etc. In this regard, I urge parents to actively engage not only in the spiritual, psychological and intellectual development of their children, but also in the physical. Exercise, outdoor play, and sports are as important to children as academic and mental work. Children who are active and participate in sports usually cope with stress more efficiently, and their body develops harmoniously than those who do not. It doesn’t matter what kind of sport your child chooses to participate in: tennis, swimming, basketball or soccer, the main thing is that the child stays active. I also want to emphasize that physical activity and sports play an important role in the prevention of drug use and crime among children and adolescents. Intense physical activity promotes the removal of harmful substances from the body, increases immunity, activates mental abilities, strengthens the child’s psyche, increasing the production of pleasure hormones (endorphins); at the same time, the release of adrenaline and cortisol also known as the “stress” hormone are reduced. A healthy body is the foundation of a child’s psychological comfort, a source of natural inner joy and good moods. The physical education of a child and playing sports should be developed as an element of spiritual culture.
There are many areas of health that we should focus on: Physical, Emotional, Mental, Social, Spiritual, Financial, and Environmental Health. In order for a person to be truly healthy, every area needs attention. Today, we will focus on physical health. To ensure that you and your family are physically healthy, you must take care of your bodies. Get plenty of sleep every night, drink enough water, eat healthy food, get some sort of physical activity every day. You can go for a family day at the park, go on a bike ride, go for a hike. The possibilities are endless. To help you get a good night’s sleep, create an evening routine that you will be able to keep turning off all electronic devices at least 1 hour before bed. Doing this will help your mind relax and prepare you for good quality sleep. Did you know that most people walk around chronically dehydrated and don’t even know about it? You must ensure that you drink enough water to sustain your body, which is actually made up of 75% water! Drinking water goes hand-in-hand with eating healthy food to ensure optimal physical health. Everyone needs to eat a balanced diet that is full of vegetables and fruit. Fruit and vegetables have lots of fiber to help keep your digestive system healthy. You should also eat enough protein and complex carbohydrates to keep up your muscle tone and energy levels for your day. Everything you put into your body has a reaction in your body, so why not feed it properly to ensure positive reactions? Of course there is a time for treats and sweets, but try to save those for special occasions and celebrations. My hope is that if you follow these simple steps to better physical health, we will have less chances of students, staff members, and families getting sick. Take care of your health and families.
BILINGUALISM (bilingualism) has long ceased to be a privilege of the elite members of society and, in the context of globalization, is becoming an unreserved norm of life and even a prerequisite for a successful career. Speaking two or more languages helps us not only communicate effectively, succeed in business, the arts and science. Bilingualism has a positive effect on the functionality of a child’s brain, academic ability, social skills, and their future, in general. A child who is bilingual easily switches from one language to another and improves his ability to effectively manage higher cognitive processes, such as problem solving, memory, and critical thinking. At the same time, children who speak several languages generally have a more flexible and lively mind. Scientists call this phenomenon “the bilingual advantage”. In other words, learning multiple languages from an early age can be of great benefit to your child.
CKH – “CAPTURING KIDS’ HEARTS”
CKH – “Capturing Kids’ Hearts” is an acronym which, for the last several years, has been growing in popularity and familiarity throughout the school system and has become a sort of motto for many educators. How do we, as parents and teachers, capture such frail, precious, and young hearts—capture, conquer, and sow—in order to be able to reach the mind, habits, character, to channel the endless energy and potential that lives in every child toward something noble and good? This is a truly monumental task. However, there is another acronym which we seldom use, and it is just as important: CAH – “Capturing Adults’ Hearts”. We can see the need for this in our children’s eyes, in their timidly raised hands, in their tears, in their achievements and failures, even in their childish rebellion. “Hey, let me into your adult world, hear me out, understand me, reach out to me, share a part of your heart with me!” A true mentor – a teacher, a mother, a father – must have the ability to hear this often subtle cry for help and know how to react to it. A child’s education is a two way street: we strive to reach our little ones as they try to reach us. Therefore, capturing the heart of a little one is only possible if we give them our own heart in return.
As an educator, I have always been firmly convinced that every school should have music and singing lessons, and that every student should develop skills and understanding in the field of musical culture. By connecting with the art of music, a child connects with beauty and harmony and is transformed morally and spiritually. In addition, it is scientifically proven that musical education improves children’s ability to read, learn multiple languages, and does well in mathematics. Music contributes to the development of figurative thinking and spatial imagination, and this is necessary in order to understand geometry, algebra, and other exact sciences. Playing a musical instrument develops and strengthens the coordination of hearing and hand motor skills. All this contributes to the development of literacy and the development of beautiful handwriting. Listening to music, playing a musical instrument, and studying music theory develops the areas of the brain associated with sound processing, which allows children to do better in other academic disciplines. Moreover, as Finnish scientists have found out, additional music lessons at school help to improve not only academic knowledge and discipline, but also have a positive effect on the psychological atmosphere in the class as a whole. So may we help our children not only to connect with the mysterious world of music, but also to learn and love it forever?
I often remind our teachers and staff that a school should not only develop the academic ability of its students, but also help to shape a healthy character of a child. Character development programs are important not only because they instill in children ethical principles and good character qualities (compassion, respect, responsibility, etc.), but also because they help reduce problems associated with bad student behavior. Bullying, ridicule, and intimidation among students can be a major problem in schools. The results of bullying can be disastrous for both the victim and the aggressor. Bullying can happen on social media as well. Because of bullying, students can refuse to go to school and may even become depressed. In some cases, this can lead to tragic consequences. It is very important that the school and the family work as one team, helping the child to form a truly harmonious and whole person. “We must remember that intelligence is not everything. Intelligence plus character is the goal of true education.” – Martin Luther King Jr.