Elementary school teacher Betsy Eggart felt guilty at first when a parent asked her if she’d be sending home a summer packet of work. But instead of asking parents to spend July and August reviewing times tables and sight words with their first-graders, what she did next was even better: She sent home a bunch of ideas on how to enjoy the summer and pick up some important life skills along the way.
Some of Mrs. Eggart’s suggestions were about nurturing independence, like teaching your kid to tie their own shoelaces and to eat nicely at the table. “Just make sure your child isn’t the one dragging their laces through the bathroom and cafeteria then asking the teacher to tie it,” she quips. Then she goes on to say, “Really watch your child. Is he sitting on his knees, mouth wide open, food everywhere? This is how he looks in the cafeteria. Work on that!” OK, Mrs. Eggart. Consider us schooled!
Some of the alternative summer packet tips were all about bonding: writing a letter to mail to a family member, reading to your kid with silly voices and putting down your phone. Mrs. Eggart shares the blush-inducing information that when her class did their Mother’s Day booklets this year, top of the list for most kids on the “Mom’s Favourite Things” page was “iPhone.”
And some of the most valuable tips were about being better at life: get your kid to deliver cookies, a song or flowers to someone to make them smile, or stand back and let your kid struggle to open their own Lunchable. In Mrs. Eggart’s mind, our biggest summer goals for little kids should be fostering kindness and independence.
Our favourite nugget of advice? Mrs. Eggart prescribes REST. That’s right—she gives us and our kids permission to chill at home and not be “constantly going somewhere.” And on that note, she shares this truth bomb: “Boredom gives way to creativity.” So when our kids complain of being bored, she wants us to let them figure out what to do next All. By. Themselves. Maybe it will involve watching a caterpillar on a leaf, making a tent in the backyard from sheets or teaching the family dog some silly new trick. Who knows? All we know for sure is that Mrs. Eggart is one wise woman. Roll on summer vay-cay!
Check out Betsy Eggart’s full “summer packet” below:
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