Family Day Weekend has arrived! While originally created to give people time to spend with their families in several Canadian provinces, it also provides a day off during the tedium of a long winter – which we know too well after the tedium of a two-year pandemic! With some positive signs on the horizon, let’s hope February 2022 represents the inflection point we have all been waiting for on our common journey back to normal.
Normal. Isn’t it true that during the past twenty-four months, people have been yearning for something like stability (normality)? Even those of us who accepted that we would never truly get our old lives back in the same way hoped for something of a “new normal”. Yet as we move forward through 2022, we are beginning to realize that we have no choice but to accept that our world is “predictably unpredictable”. Perhaps the new normal that people keep referring to is already here.
Maybe as we spend time with our families this weekend, we can all reflect a bit on how this new normal ought to look in an elementary school like ours. What are our priorities for our students and children after all of the buzzwords lose their vibe and the pendulum stops swinging back and forth? And what do we truly want for the children who learn at Matthews Hall? These are all important and far-reaching questions that inform the mission, vision, and values of our school.
For those of us who are teachers, we look around our classrooms and school every day with eyes fixed on our students. We couldn’t tell you who crawled first, who walked before another child or who spoke in sentences by fifteen months. We can’t tell if parents breastfed or bottle fed, or who was out of diapers first or whose training wheels came off early.
What we can tell is when a child feels loved and secure at home and at school and we sometimes know who has pizza on Friday nights and who may have a new puppy! It is usually apparent who has a solid routine in place and who has chores and responsibilities that are helping them learn how to contribute toward the common good.
No matter how the new normal evolves, what has always been important for kids to live and learn won’t change that much. It’s actually not that complex. Work some. Play some. Talk some. Rest some. Think some. Eat some.
We do all of these “somes” in schools and homes every week.
Maybe Family Day can be a chance for us to re-group around which of these priorities matter most and how we will work to balance them in our small family school and in the lives of our children.
Ric Anderson, Head of School