Leap Into Learning
Although it may feel like summer has only just begun, cooler weather and a return to learning are on the horizon. In order to look forward to learning, we have to feel prepared. As our youngest friends get ready to return to the classroom, there are several ways we can help them, and ourselves, make a smooth transition!
Each of us is energized by different things, and knowing what brings us energy can be a valuable tool to prepare for or recover from a tough day. Help your child or youth discover what energizes them by asking probing questions.
What kind of things do you do that make you feel happy? What makes you feel overwhelmed?
You can also help your child learn how to recharge by modeling your own self-care moments. Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed and need a moment of self-care, articulate what emotions got you there and how you plan to resolve them.
“Recharging” is just one way to frame social and emotional learning. It can also be thought of as practicing self-regulation or building emotional intelligence. Using a Zone Check-In, you can establish an easy, daily routine rooted in social and emotional learning to help children recognize and manage their emotions. By checking in with our emotions and saying, “this is how I feel,” we can learn to acknowledge and respond to our emotions, and the emotions of others, in healthy, respectful ways.
Print off and hang the Zone Check-In sheet somewhere in your home to encourage daily emotional reflection.
If you need a bit of inspiration or assistance to get yourself into the Green Zone, check out the Greentrike OSTI virtual zone rooms, where you’ll find videos, activities, and book recommendations specific to each zone!
Open Ended Play
One way to prepare for the transition into the school year is to set intentions. Looking forward gets children excited and helps them articulate anything they may be feeling nervous or hesitant about.
Ask your child what is important to them to help them clarify what they want. What are you most excited for this school year? Why is (xyz) important to you? If your child is having trouble getting started, use “Imagine…” statements (Imagine…swimming with sharks. Imagine…a classroom.) to spark their interest or ask follow up questions (What would that look like? How would it feel?).
Use a notebook to start an intention journal! Whether you set intentions with your children every day or every week, establishing regular opportunities to check in supports social and emotional learning and wellbeing. Try decorating the cover of the journal or making the most recent intentions visible throughout the day to deepen engagement.
Have a conversation with your child about what they can do to make their intentions come true. While success isn’t the primary goal, there are important learning opportunities in failure and success.
In The Community
National Night Out | August 2
On the first Tuesday in August, neighborhoods across the country host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts, and other community events to promote police-community partnership as part of an annual community-building campaign.
There are several National Night Out community events happening around Pierce County on August 2, so find an event near you to connect with neighbors!
National Coloring Book Day | August 2
Coloring not only helps children develop their fine motor skills, strength, spatial awareness, and self-control, it’s also fun for all ages!
Visit the Studios at the Children’s Museums of Tacoma and at JBLM to color with a variety of mediums and tools. And when visiting the Children’s Museum of Tacoma, be sure to snag a coloring sheet designed by one of our PlayGuides, Alexjandro!
International Day of the World’s Indigenous People | August 9
This annual observance recognizes the contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues and pays tribute to the millions of indigenous people living across the globe today.
What does indigenous mean? Originating or occurring naturally in a particular place; native; a population is labeled indigenous when its ancestors are the original inhabitants of a place
You can learn about, support, and celebrate the Native cultures of our region with the IN THE SPIRIT Arts Market and Northwest Native Festival on Saturday, August 6.
Proctor Arts Fest, IN THE SPIRIT Arts Market, and the Greentrike Back to School Festival are all happening this August! Check out our Pierce County Summer Festival list for details about these upcoming community events and more.
Where can I receive/provide school supplies?
Greentrike Back to School Festival: Celebrate the return to school with a backpack and school supplies giveaway, Expanded Learning Opportunities provider booths and performances, youth-activated pop-ups, cotton candy and popcorn machines, music, food trucks and entry into participating museums.
Tacoma Public Library Back to School Supply Drive: Donate new and unused school supplies at all Tacoma Library branches through the month of August for Tacoma Rescue Mission.
What does it mean to be school-ready?
The term “school-readiness” is often used to describe developmental milestones in literacy and mathematics, but it goes beyond ABCs and multiplication. School-ready children are prepared to be a part of a group and can communicate and self-regulate their emotions.
Do you have questions about your child’s social and emotional well-being?
Reach out to your pediatrician, schedule a developmental screening with Child Find, or get in touch with one of our early intervention partners – A Step Ahead Pierce County, HopeSparks, and Birth to Three Developmental Center – to get the information and support you need.