Positive physical, cognitive, and social/emotional well-being.
Children spend many hours in the care of the faculty and staff of a school. In the best of times, they are in the physical school building for more than 6 hours a day. For the past year, many of our children have been "doing school" remotely. But, in all cases, school is meant to support the growth of our children in all domains of development.
Although academics is front and center, a child's ability to find academic success is undeniably tied to their physical and emotional well-being.
We know that stress impairs cognitive function. If a child is experiencing stress at home or at school, their ability to attend, process and retain information can be impaired.
To be sure, the pandemic of the last year has caused stress. Many children have experienced illness, watched loved ones suffer, and struggled with the inability to socialize with friends. Our children have been incredibly resilient in the face of these challenges. Still, we must be mindful of the toll these times have taken on many of them.
One of the many ways schools can support children's well-being is by knowing and valuing all children. We need to be sure that all children see themselves represented in positive ways in the curriculum, on the bookshelves, and in the ways in which we interact with one another.
Listening to and valuing the importance of children's support system.
Families trust that the schools are caring for their children. All of us parents remember when we first sent our children off to school. That mix of happiness and fear is real for all of us. We wondered if they would like school, if they would like their teacher, if other children would welcome them and be friendly and kind.
All parents want the best for their children. Many of us sacrificed to move to a place like Central Bucks so that we could provide a quality education for our children.
The connections between home and school must be nurtured. Clear communication and opportunities for involvement that are inclusive are necessary. The families of Central Bucks represent a wide range of identities that bring richness and strength to our community. CB schools need to continue to listen to the needs of the community and make every effort to be sure that all families are welcomed and reflected in their respective learning communities.
Valuing the knowledge of our faculty and staff and supporting them as both professionals and as people.
Teachers and other school staff spend a lot of quality time with other people's children. They are entrusted with one of the most important roles in our society -- growing future parents, teachers, doctors, clerks... citizens.
The decision to become a teacher is one that is almost wholly born from a place of love. Love of children, love of a particular content area, or love of being part of a life-long learning community. Moreover, the demands of a teacher are great. They must creatively plan instruction with a wide range of abilities, learning preferences, and prior knowledge in mind. They listen to children's stories, hopes, dreams, and fears. They are the teachers but they are also the advisor, the friend, the nurse, the caregiver, and so much more.
When many of us think back on our own school experiences, we can remember our favorite teacher. Maybe we can also remember our least favorite teacher. Those memories are very rarely about a particular piece of content we learned, but more often about how a teacher made us feel. Moreover, I count all support staff into this equation. Everyone who comes in contact with our children plays a part in their development.
Our school faculty and staff must be supported in this complex and ever-changing role in ways that both support their ability to competently be wonderful for our children but also serve to keep them healthy and strong.