Teacher Let the Monkeys Out
In my family, the first time we see a child after school lets out for the summer, we HAVE to say, “School’s out, school’s out, teacher let the monkeys out!” A great deal has changed in the world since I was a student, but this remains true: The last day of school represents a real transition for children, for teachers, and for parents.
For kids, the school year ending feels a bit like a jail break. Even kids who love school experience an exhilarating release as they cast off the structure of their lives for one that will be defined more loosely. No one feels richer than a child looking ahead to a seemingly endless string of summer days which are yet to be savored.
Kids who excel at school love the chance to relax a bit in the summer, pursuing other activities besides always having to maintain their GPA. Kids who struggle in school revel in the summertime when they can excel at biking, swimming and baseball rather than feeling they always come up short as they might in the classroom.
Teachers make it to the last day of school like marathoners approaching the finish line. Even though they use the summer to prepare for the fall, they can turn some energy to other priorities, like reading a book or planting a garden, to find some balance in their lives..
Parents have to figure out how to marshal their kids’ enthusiasm for a safe, productive summer. They want to provide downtime for creativity and play but avoid too much boredom.
Some parents offer exposure to a new interest, like tennis or Asian culture, which sometimes whets children’s appetite for further study. Libraries promote summer reading with programs designed to captivate kids.
Parents who work outside the home have to figure out child care that will engage their kids happily. This occasion calls for a family discussion, sitting down with your kiddos to plan activities and schedules, creating the right balance of productivity and flexibility.
Welcome to the summer season with your kids. Even if they act like monkeys sometimes, here’s hoping these warm days bring some particular pleasures for your family.