Ellwyn’s Blog

$chool $upplie$  

Every September, supply list in hand, wallets open, parents and their children flock to the stores to purchase the items required by the new teacher. This is an expensive time of year, the items on those supply lists add up. I once overheard a child ask their parent, “Why does the teacher make us buy all of this stuff?” That’s a very good question, and lucky for anyone asking the same thing, I have a very good answer.

While families are dolling out money on notebooks, paper towels and hand sanitizer, teachers are doing the same thing. As a former public school teacher, I can tell you with confidence that teachers are out there right now buying pencils, markers, crayons, construction paper, and whatever else is needed to ensure your child succeeds in their lessons. This may come as a surprise to some, but not all public schools have the necessary supplies to make it through a successful school day. Tissues and toilet paper were a hot commodity at one school where I taught. I know it sounds absurd, but it is a sad truth.

My first year teaching Kindergarten, I was assigned to a classroom that furnished me with tables, chairs, lined paper, a disintegrating carpet, and leveled books for guided reading. I had to buy everything else: scissors, markers, crayons, pencils, containers for storage, the list goes on and on. I spent over $1000.00 dollars that school year on basic supplies and other educational items I needed to properly instruct my students.

All in all, school supplies are costly for everyone involved and ‘everyone’ is the key word in this situation. As parents and educators, we are all responsible for the education of our children; whether we like it or not, part of that education requires everyone chipping in for school supplies, toiletries, office supplies, snacks, field trips, fund raisers… Did I mention school supplies?

The Second Day of School

So, your child’s first day of Pre-k or Kindergarten came and went. Everything was perfect, you took your first day of school pictures, kissed your little one good-bye, and watched as they bravely walked into school with a big smile. At dismissal, the teacher told you your child had a wonderful first day and you felt relieved that you didn’t have to deal with the back to school blues.

But then…

Yes, I know, the second day of school arrived and with it came the water works and pleas to stay home. You feel confused and worried? You thought that your child liked school. They were so excited to go and when they came home they talked for hours about how exciting everything was. What happened in 24 hours to change their minds?

There is so much excitement on the first day of school that some children don’t have time to process everything right away. I think for these children the first day of school is like a field trip or a special visit to a new place. After a few days, they begin to realize that this “school thing” is real and that they have to go everyday, and guess what? They don’t want to go.

What are you going to do now?

Fortunately, I have a few suggestions to help with this dilemma.

*Understand that your child has been thrust into a brand new place, with new faces and new rules. We feel the same way when we start at a new job.

*If your child is having a hard time adjusting to a full school day, discuss a temporary 1/2 day option with the teacher and the school office. The school may not approve of this strategy, but it’s worthy of a conversation.  An alternative strategy may come up during this discussion.
*Give your child a family photograph to keep with them during the school day.
*Many children who arrive to school in tears are often fine once they get settled in their classroom.
*Develop a routine and stick to it. When children know what to expect they feel safe. When they feel safe, they learn. When they learn, they thrive.

I hope this helps ease the transition for those children and parents who need extra time getting used to a new school year. If you have additional strategies that you think would be helpful please comment.

A really good book to read with your child about the anxiety of going to school:

Family Event: Multi-Author Book Signing

Tomorrow at The Sand’s Outlets in Bethlehem there will be a multi-author book signing from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Come on out and support local authors from every genre. It’s family friendly and best of all you get to meet and greet the authors. This is one of the best ways to promote a love of literature with your child. The authors sign each copy and even pose for photographs. What a great back-to-school event to share with the teacher and the class. With a book purchase, you get a coupon booklet for discounts to the outlets and the Music Festival is there this weekend, too.

I’ll be there selling my middle-grade novel Chris Kringle’s Cops: The First Mission and promoting my picture book Kamyla Chung and the Creepy Crawlies due for release on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Bookshop on August 20, 2017.

You never know what you’ll find, so don’t miss out. I hope to see you there tomorrow!

More Bedtime Stories With Mo Willems

If you enjoyed reading Knuffle Bunny with your child then you must read the hilarious sequel Knuffle Bunny, Too. In this installment, the Knuffle Bunny drama continues as Trixie takes her one-of-a-kind bunny to Pre-Kindergarten and discovers that her bunny isn’t so unique. A classmate named Sonja has a bunny that looks almost the same as Trixie’s.

The two little girls develop an instant rivalry, arguing over the pronunciation of Knuffle Bunny, until the teacher takes both bunnies away and returns them to the girls at the end of the school day. Of course there is a problem that ensues with the bunnies, but I won’t spoil the ending. You’ll have to read the book to find out what happens.

After you’ve finished reading both books have a post-reading conversation about them with your child. Lay both books in front of you and discuss the elements that are the same and different about the books. For example, Trixie is on the front cover of both books, but in one she is a baby and in the other she’s a little older. Let your child explore the pages of each book and analyze what they see. You will be surprised at some of the insight they have.

Words Can Be Fun – Nutty Notes and other Silly Sentences

Wonderful Whimsical Words

Angel Kiss, Lemon Drop
Little Miss, Soda Pop
A spider spins a web of silk,
A cookie’s favorite friend is milk.

Rocking Horse, Fairy Dust
Magic Force, Pizza Crust
Babies, toddlers, girls and boys,
Santa’s elves make lots of toys.

Unicorn, Teddy Bear
Early Morn, Dragon’s Lair
A pirate’s chest is filled with gold,
A princess can be brave and bold.

Children Play, Bells Chime
Saturday, Bed Time
A ticking clock goes round and round,
A whisper is a soft, soft sound.

Corn Starch, Halloween
Month of March, King and Queen
Every baseball needs a bat,
A cowboy wears a big, round hat.

Carousel, Pocket Book
Wishing Well, Swedish Cook
Pigs say oink and cows say moo,
A crying ghost says boo-hoo.

Scrambled Eggs, Talking Lizards
Chicken Legs, Wacky Wizards
Lords and ladies liked to dance,
shorts are just really small pants.

Pot of Gold, Wheat and Rye
It’s Time To Say Good-Bye,
Before our rhyme is all done,
It’s your turn to make up one.
Have fun!

Bedtime Stories and Stuffed Animals

Most parents carry on the tried and true tradition of reading to their child before he goes to bed at night, but sharing a story is more than a nighttime ritual. Reading to your child at anytime of day is beneficial; it promotes a positive attitude toward books, it builds fluency and it develops vocabulary. Pairing the reading with a tangible object your child can hold while you read together adds to the emotional connection and emotional memory your child will develop for reading.

One of my favorite picture books to read is Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems.

Through a mixed medium of photography and animated illustration, Mr. Willems has created a comical story that every parent can relate to, a child losing their favorite toy and the tears and frustration that follow until the treasured ‘lovey’ is found.

Kohl’s through the Kohl’s Cares program is now selling Mo Willems’ book characters and Knuffle Bunny is one of them. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy some reading time with your little one than by snuggling up with Knuffle Bunny and reading the book together. After you’ve read the book to your child, encourage her to ‘read’ or re-tell it to Knuffle Bunny. What a wonderful way to reinforce language development and a lifelong love of reading.