Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What children truly need for school, By Sharon Randall

Excellent column. Ran in our local paper today.

Sharon writes:

Last year in a column, I listed what I think children need for school. Many of you requested a reprint of that list. So here again, thank you, are "20 things children truly need for school."

1. A No. 2 pencil and a willingness to erase.

2. A respect for themselves and others, especially their teachers.

3. An awareness that the world does not revolve around them and that they alone are responsible for their actions.

4. Parents (or grandparents) who teach by example a love for reading, learning and life.

5. An assurance that school is a good, safe place; their teachers will like them; and their parents won't leave town without them.

6. An understanding that school is their "job" and no one else can or will do it for them.

7. A system for exchanging communication between school and home; a backpack for notes; an emergency phone number that always answers; a quiet place and time to do homework; a daily chance to read aloud and to be read to.

8. A plan for getting to and from school on time.

9. A pet to care for.

10. A public library card.

11. Someone to welcome them home; laugh at their jokes; answer their questions; listen to what they say and don't say.

12. The power of knowing how it feels to give anonymously and sacrificially to help someone less fortunate.

13. The encouragement to try new things; the freedom to fail; and the chance to try again.

14. The gifts of being well fed, well rested, well mannered and well covered for medical, dental and after-school care.

15. The confidence to deal with bullies (stand up straight, look them in the eye, don't start a fight, but don't back down); how to ask questions (raise your hand and wait to be called on); and to never stop asking questions, especially "why?"

16. To be the best or at least pretty good at something; and to know that it's OK not to be good at everything.

17. To spend more time with humans and less with machines.

18. To have nothing to do once in a while but daydream.

19. To have someone love them unconditionally, regardless of their grades; someone to "beam" at them, to light up when they walk into the room.

20. Finally, they need to know that school won't last forever, but learning is a lifelong process.

Scripps Howard News Service

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