Joy School Baguio has officially taken off!
As we have been sharing on social media, we have the privilege of nurturing the hearts and minds of three beautiful children this year (and year-round we welcome children to join our month-by-month participation).
Next to parenting, there is no greater calling than teaching. Now that I have chosen to be a teacher myself, my profound appreciation for teachers has multiplied a million times.
They – we – labor hard to prepare each lesson, rehearse to confidently deliver it, and pray hard to engage, enlighten, and inspire young minds.
I was reminded of this when I was teaching my son Makisig (the first Joy School Baguio graduate) who is now in second grade. Like most parents who are now compelled to embrace the responsibility of directly teaching their children, Arnold and I are homeschooling all kids this year, with me more involved with Makisig and Arnold more involved with Patricia (who is in ninth grade).
My children have big beautiful eyes. At one time when Makisig and I were on our lessons, he answered a Math problem correctly and I praised him for it. Then I noticed how big and shining his eyes were. He was joyful. There was a spirit in there that was lifted up and felt assured that, “Yes, I got this!”
The responsibility of teaching young children goes beyond nurturing learning. It also involves nurturing their self-esteem. Trace Moroney, a children’s book author, said that healthy self-esteem is the most important gift parents could give their children.
Beloved child psychologist, Dr. Benjamin Spock, whose book on Baby and Child Care serves as my Bible for caring for my children, summarized in two ways how parents can help children develop a healthy self-esteem: 1. Set firm and friendly limits 2. Praise correctly.
Children must learn to accept limits which parents must learn to set firmly in a friendly but consistent tone. Children will naturally be balky, but when parents are consistent with limits, then children learn to accept that rules are needed to keep us safe and happy. They learn that positive consequences result from following rules.
Week 1 at Joy School Baguio was learning about rules. Among these rules, we promise that we never hit or kick or push. We use our inside voices when we’re at Joy School. We sit up quietly when it’s time to listen. These are just some of the rules we promise to follow to make our Joy School experience fun for everyone.
Parents who think that giving children all they want will make them happy are in fact doing the reverse. Spoiling a child by saying yes to every whim and demand has never resulted in making them happy.
We also encourage our children to develop a healthy self-esteem when we praise them correctly.
What does that exactly mean?
Dr. Angel Adams of the British Psychology Society shares that we should praise reflectively either using words or non-verbal actions. This is a non-judgmental statement that simply reflects what you saw the child did. Dr Adams explains: You might say, for example, “I noticed how carefully you worked on that picture. It shows in the details. The colours you chose are striking. Reduce the praise and become more interested in your child.”
She also recommends asking open-ended questions instead of just praising the child with the usual “Great job!”. Asking open-ended questions allows children to talk about and describe their work, encouraging critical thinking and self worth at the same time as the child talks about what his work is about and why he likes it.
Sometimes, the best way to praise our children for their work is by giving them a simple smile. Dr Adams shares that non-verbal signals are just as important as using words, and are simpler, too.
During week 2 at Joy School Baguio we have seen both parents and children helping each other with arts and crafts, learning new songs, and listening to stories that reinforce learning on and appreciation for our amazing bodies!
We also launched our 1000 Books before Kindergarten quest and have started a reading session during Activity Days every Friday.
The kids are having fun – and I am having fun, too! I can’t be more grateful to our Joy School parent partners – Daddy Arnold, Mommy Justine, and Mommy Nikkie – for their involvement in this journey. Their support is invaluable.
May we be inspired to teach our children. 🙂