Your child does incredible things in school every day. Much is required of her and she rises to the occasion, meeting and surpassing expectations.
As she prepares to enter the school building every morning, she knows exactly where to line up and what she needs to carry with her. Perhaps she even knows her precise position in line: in front of number 16 and behind number 14. She stops playing, turns off her voice and is swallowed up behind the doors before you turn away, confident that she will be cared for and looked after for the next six hours.
For your little girl, the responsibilities are only beginning, and she is up to the challenge.
She places her belongings in their designated places, pulls her chair down from the top of the table in order to sit, checks the written message left by her teacher to find out what she needs to be doing and quietly starts working.
She follows the appropriate protocol of her classroom routines while participating in the morning meeting, day count and calendar activities. At this point during the school year, she is fully capable of leading the routines herself, or at the very least guiding a substitute teacher through every step of the process.
She knows where to find and store all the supplies she needs throughout the day. She fetches and returns the items she needs and has no trouble locating the appropriate books and tools. When she completes her seat-work, she follows the directions given for what to do next.
She may look back and complete unfinished work in her workbooks. She might read over her work and start self-editing and begin revisions. She might meet with a partner to go over each other’s work together, or she may read quietly at her desk a book she is confident is right at her reading level.
She knows where she should be, whether in her chair, at a table or on the floor. She is aware of the classroom schedule and it’s accompanying expectations. She is encouraged to think about making smooth and smooth transitions and to anticipate needs and expectations for what lies ahead.
She participates in class discussions. She thinks critically and makes connections between subjects, books, ideas and the experiences she has outside of school. Sometimes she shares her thoughts with a friend or assigned partner while other times she may give a hand signal to show her agreement, disagreement or confusion. Occasionally she may even raise her hand and share a thought with the whole group.
Your child is a mathematician. She actively participates in math activities for more than 60 minutes every day. She listens to whole group instruction. She works independently answering math questions in her workbook. She solves multistep math problems with a partner or in small group with guidance provided by her teacher. She corrects her work. She plays math games that help her remember facts and increases her processing speed. She exerts full concentration on math for the duration of the lesson every day.
Your child is an author. She learns lessons on the craft of writing. She generates ideas and spends concentrated periods of time recording her thoughts on paper. Later she revisits what she previously wrote and works on revising and editing her words. She shares her writing with her writing partner and conferences with her teacher, brainstorming together about the things she needs to improve and how she can stretch her writing skills. She memorizes word patterns and works on spelling and grammar.
Your child is a reader. She reads independently and in small groups. She answers questions that challenge her comprehension skills and hones her critical thinking while expanding her knowledge base. She reads books from many different genres and knows exactly where to locate a poetry book, an informational text, or a book of fiction. She listens to books read aloud that are beyond her independent reading level. She is introduced to new ideas and concepts and is asked to think about important questions and to anticipate what might happen next in a story. She participates in discussions about character traits, settings plot lines as the class thinks about foreshadowing and the components of a good story.
Your child is a scientist. She asks questions and forms hypotheses. She tests her guesses and forms new ideas based on what she has learned. She reads about historical and current events and listens, reads, talks and writes about her community making connections between the past and present and places near and far.
She knows her way around the school. She makes choices on how to spend her free time both in the classroom and outside during the limited free time the class may have or earn through positive behavioral choices. She plays with other children using rudimentary toys and games and they laugh and enjoy each other’s company while exercising their imaginations.
Your child is fully engaged and learning for more than six hours a day. She confidently manages her own behavior and concentration throughout the day while participating as a member of her peer group.
At the close of the school day, she is responsible for cleaning her personal space and gathering her own belongings. She knows just where to go to reunite with you at the appropriate time.
Your child is only six years old. She has worked hard for a whole school day. She may not be able to clearly articulate to you any specific thing she has learned, for every day requires a high level of effort and concentration to make it through all that is expected of her. To her, it is simply school.
She does incredible things every day. She meets and exceeds expectations. She makes choices. She acquires new information and skills. She practices her growing repertoire of knowledge and learns more about belonging to and interacting in group settings.
How will she spend the hours between school and bedtime? Does she need more stimulation and learning, or does she need to play, spend time in nature, rest and relax?
Perhaps a snack, a snuggle, a story and an early bedtime is in order tonight?
This article was originally posted on the Nurturance blog.
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