Monday, April 04, 2011

Parenting-Teaching: What's Important?

I'm a parent and a teacher.  I work with children from early morning to late at night.  I think a lot about my roles and the priorities related to both.  As I consider, I find the following criteria to be most important.

Warm Welcoming Home/Classroom
I strive to make my home and classroom warm and welcoming, a place where children feel at home.  I am trying to keep both simple, but equipped with essential supplies for caring, happy, thoughtful, creative development.

I believe it's important to notice and tap into children's passions. Every parent remarks about the differences children present from birth. When children have the opportunity to discover, explore and develop their passions, they have a greater chance for happiness, friendship, and fulfillment.  I observe my children closely at home and in class.  I provide them with a variety of experiences and watch to see how they learn or react, what they like and don't like.  Then I try to feed their passions.

Essential Skills
Children need to have essential skills.  In our busy lives today it's often difficult to navigate all the choices out there to make time for the meaningful development of essential social skills and academic skills:  reading, writing, math and foundation knowledge in content areas, but it's essential, and both parents and teachers need to make time in their daily schedules to nurture children's essential skill development.

Experiences are great teachers in life.  Providing children with many, varied experiences broadens their perspective and understanding of the world.  Experiences can include travel near and far, visits to museums, sports events, public parks, hiking, creative endeavors, volunteer work and much more.

It's important to share and discuss values.  My dad always did this with the evening news.  He'd read an article or two each night to my family, then we'd discuss it.  My children and I often talk about our values -- we talk a lot about what we think is important and why.  In school we talk a lot about the daily social conflicts and issues.  We also discuss major news events and social issues related to the grade level curriculum.  We share our cultures, traditions and values as part of our culture share.

Physical fitness, healthy food and positive habits are essential.  This is a matter of routine and awareness.  Mainly, participation in sports activities easily fosters healthy habits.

As a parent and teacher, this is the start to my short list of essential criteria for doing the job well.  Let me know what I've missed or where I can revise for a better list. Keeping the focus on what's most important helps our children grow and develop happily and successfully.