March 2, 2021 | Zachary Licato
Humans are social creatures and have a deep biological and neurological need for interaction. Whenever you walk the hallways of our 4-8th grade school, the sounds of dancing, games, Zoom, music and laughs are still strong and plenty. It is an integral part of the overall learning environment. The positive relationships being formed in the children’s daily lives as they have fun, study and interact, play a vitally important role in students’ ability to learn, to cope, to grow.
We’ve tried to absorb the lessons that this new environment has created. We adapted to new ways of teaching and we are discovering flexible, more innovative ways to use technology as creatively as possible. Teachers have designed new online individual and collaborative projects, videos, as well as small group work time to facilitate learning and to develop social and interactive skills.
However, one of the most essential parts of learning is the “in between” time, the time that allows children just to be children and enjoy each other’s company.
I asked my fellow teachers to give me examples of what they specifically do in their class to just enjoy time together, and feel personally connected with their students. Here are a few of their responses:
As we make space for students to feel a sense of belonging and normalcy, it is just as important that we as adults find ways to keep a balance and structure in the things that are within our control. When we are grounded and focused on controllable factors, we can better connect with others and ourselves.
Some things we can all do at home:
Stay active – We need to keep ourselves and our children active. Focus on the act of physical activity, not necessarily the amount. It is more about consistency than duration. It also releases endorphins in our brain.
Adequate sleep: Good sleep is essential to our overall health.
Self-care: Take time to take care of yourself. Be supportive and suggest the same for those close to you. Meditation, relaxation, quality time with family, personal care of yourself promotes overall wellness.
Cope with stress and anxiety: Positive coping mechanisms would include exercise, meditation, reading, further developing certain skills or hobbies etc.
As your day progresses, think about where you can build-in healthy breaks. Continue to find time to live, love, and connect.