Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Exploring Your Child's Feelings with School and Much More

There are many discussions that focus on academics, test scores and student performance but there is another critical component that needs to be in place for a child to have a productive school year and it starts with one simple question. Is your child happy? Psychologists who work with school-age children talk about how important it is to speak with children about how they feel about their roles as students in schools and it is just as important to acknowledge positive attitudes as it is to intervene when there are negative feelings. Buried among statistics and test scores is one of the most nourishing tools in a parent’s ability to help a child with school performance; exploring a child’s feelings about school and the world around him or her.

This month marks the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on our country and our spirit. In the coverage of how downtown New York will mark the day and honor those who were lost, is a story of some former students from a nearby high school who fled their building with their teachers that morning and how they, now adults, a decade later, plan to honor the anniversary. They were scared teenagers when the tragedy occurred and now they are productive adults discussing, as alumni, what feels like the right way to remember that day. Who knows what conversations these students had with teachers and staff in the time that followed the world changing events; but these former high school students are a lasting reminder that life does go on.

There were also some very young students evacuating the area that fateful day and teachers and the staff of schools had the added responsibility of taking precious care of these children until anxious and overwhelmed parents and caregivers could get to them. In order to help such young children sort through their questions and feelings after September 11, many students participated in art projects that helped shape their thoughts into pictures. It is incredibly powerful to see the story of what happened that September morning told through the eyes of children and their crayons and colored markers.

As parents and caregivers, we can supply our children with pencils, and pack some cookies in a lunch box, but we should also remember to spend as much time focusing on their feelings and innermost thoughts. They need all our help to try and grasp the often unexplainable world we live in.

Be well,

Alice Knisley Matthias

Education Writer

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