We are almost there! Is anyone else going to be crawling across the finish line on their belly? If you are, don’t worry. You are not alone. December in schools (and in many homes!) is a balancing act of ensuring daily tasks are met while juggling plans for an upcoming holiday. Combined with the shortest days of the year, it can seem like we are getting up in the dark and coming home in the dark. It’s at times like this that we may all feel a bit like hibernation might be a good idea.
In the coming days, students and teachers will have an extended break until the new year. The December holidays give children the opportunity to recharge as academics take a backseat during this period. From baking cookies and unwrapping gifts to traveling and visiting relatives, there are several activities that make this an exciting time for many kids.
But after the dust settles, children can experience a bit of the “brain drain” that comes with adjusting to days without school and extracurricular programs. During this time, our children can get accustomed to the relaxation and idleness of the holidays and face difficulty getting back into a school routine in the new year.
How can we make children feel comfortable for school again? How can we make sure that the January transition is a smooth one?
It takes practice to tackle the potential short-term academic hiatus and motivational adjustment. From engaging in back-to-classroom activities to brain development activities while on the break, there are various ways which can help kids swing back to basics when our classes resume.
For an effortless transition back to school, we need to remember that holiday routines must be rearranged – and not just the night before returning to school! During the holidays, children tend to go to bed late and wake up late. We must ensure that our children get back to their normal bedtimes. If there is one common thread linked to frustration in the classroom (and an inability to concentrate!), it is the effects of lack of sleep! It’s more important than we think and it is not dependent on little Johnny’s seeming limitless energy after all-nighters!
Let’s plan ahead carefully and make a relatively easy schedule for our children and students to make an easy transition back to school. We don’t need to make them read 100+ pages every day (!). Instead, let’s gradually increase the number of activities they can perform without pressure, while moving purposefully toward that all-important quiet/bedtime at the end of the upcoming busy days.
While involving them in learning activities during our break is essential, children (and adults) need the necessary free time for refocusing their thoughts.
During the break, let’s all plan for some good old-fashioned unstructured time and get re-charged for the winter term ahead.
One more short week to go and then brace yourselves – and let’s all enjoy the last week of term together!
Ric Anderson, Head of School