This week I was able to talk with the girls during Morning Meeting about how schools really have two “new years”. I asked what this meant, and immediately the girls’ hands went up. One young student expressed that entering a new grade was like entering a new year. We are lucky in this way- we get to start a new calendar year in January complete with reflections of the year gone by and predictions for the year to come, and we start a school year in September excited by the hopes and possibilities ahead.
From an early age, children understand that they can set a goal, even as simple as climbing to the highest part of a playground ladder. This feeling of accomplishment leads to more goal setting and risk taking which prepares them for life challenges. During our gathering the girls and I talked about the similarity between the words resolution and goals. They were familiar with the tradition of making resolutions to start a “new year”, as many had already made academic goals for themselves in their classrooms. I asked them to consider making one more goal to start the year 2019- always be kind. We read a lovely story to illustrate the point, Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson. If every girl was able to prioritize kindness each and every day, imagine what a wonderful place this would be for all. Even adults often struggle to meet this goal- we’ll see if the younger members of our community can take this to heart and set an example for all.
In the end, the most successful goals originate with the child. According to Jessica Lahey, in her book The Gift of Failure, “Self-imposed goals are about the safest place for a kid to fail. I f kids make up their own goals, on their own timeline, according to their criteria, then failure is not a crushing defeat. Goals can be amended, changed according to circumstances, and even postponed to maybe next week. For kids who are particularly afraid and anxious about failing, goals offer a private proving ground, as safe way to take risks, fail, and try again.” She says that, “for a goal to work, the child has to own it.”
In conclusion, I hope that whatever your hopes, goals, or resolutions for 2019 may be, you are able to find success and much happiness!
I hope that my communication with you encourages “talking points” to inspire weekend conversation with your children. Here are some “talking points” for this weekend.
- If you are in Kindergarten- What did you learn about the letter “G” this week? What did Mrs. B do over her winter break that was exciting? What activity did you enjoy with fifth grade buddies over break?
- If you are in First Grade- How do you feel about your performance coming up? How are the “Roses” to dance with? Is your costume colorful and fun to move around the stage in?
- If you are in Second Grade- What are you looking forward to seeing at the Walters Art Museum this week related to Egyptian Art?
- If you are in Third Grade- What are you looking forward to seeing at the Baltimore Museum of Art the week after next? Who is Matisse? What have you learned about the work of Roald Dahl? Do you have a favorite book? What did you learn from Ms. Greene’s mother about writing her book about Maryland?
- If you are in Fourth Grade- What are some reasons that people moved Westward? Who were Lewis and Clark?
- If you are in Fifth Grade- What will the subject of your letter to a State Representative be? What do you hope to accomplish with your letter?