BY BETH PINYERD
It is beginning to look like Autumn in the faces of young children. Smiles, more energy, cool air, beautiful Autumn leaves and jackets and sweaters needed. When I was a younger mom, an older lady in the Opelika community — who was my friend and mentor — offered me an opportunity to come glean from her garden.. When she and her husband left for the mountains for a fall trip, she invited this stay-at-home mom over to glean their garden of any vegetables and fruits that were left over while they were gone. My toddler and I had the best time going to glean their garden and as a young family we truly enjoyed the fresh vegetables and fruits. We did preschool lessons on colors, learning different vegetables and fruits. It was an experience outreach, that this older Mom and grown son still remember. Our community is such a giving community to young families.
We welcome the month of October. It offers many celebrations and activities that we can glean fun learning activities for our children and families. Child Health Month, International Walk To School Month, National Clock Month, Emotional Wellness Month , National Book Club Month and National Reading Group Club are recognized and celebrated during this month.
Autumn offers us favorable, beautiful, cool days to walk. We Baby Boomers and The Greater Generation would walk to and from school. I can remember walking home from school. My mother was a teacher and I would walk home from Northside Elementary so I didn’t have to stay late while teachers graded their papers and got ready for the next day. Back during the days when Baby Boomers and the Greatest Generation were going to school, it was safer to walk home daily from school. “International Walk To School Day” is a worldwide global event that many schools and communities participate in. Families can plan neighborhood walks with their communities. Annually, “International Walk To School Day” is the first Wednesday of October but we can celebrate this event the whole month of October.
Children love to walk because they can explore and notice nature as they walk. It is so much fun and exciting to meet people of all ages in our communities. Family walking is good exercise that lowers stress, makes a child happier, makes a child more focused on learning new concepts and it helps to improve moods, which contributes to a good self-image and self-esteem. Classroom teachers love to take their classes out for Autumn walks to look at the sky, nature, plants and animals. Walking also contributes to emotional wellness. October is recognized as Emotional Wellness Month.
“National Clock Month” is also celebrated during the month of October. Clocks reminds us of time spent with our children. Spending one-on-one time with children strengthens the trusted bond between children and their families and friends for a lifetime. Time spent with our children spells LOVE.
National Book Month is also in October. Reading has so many benefits.
Vocabulary increases as we read and learn new words. Memories and comprehension are exercised as our brain remembers the characters in the book, how the plot unfolds and other details that contribute to the story. It is wonderful for young children to have sensory and mental stimulation through reading books. As a teacher, I love to see young eyes and ears focus on reading stories which capture their attention.
Reading books to your children is such a good family activity. Choosing a night to read and share a good book strengthens family relations for different ages within the family. Provide books around your home. Too, providing books, newspapers and magazines reinforces the importance of reading and the enjoyment of reading.
I love to go to our local libraries. The staff at libraries are so very helpful at guiding parents and children to the books children show interest in. They are so helpful to this early childhood teacher in choosing books on different subjects to read to preschool classrooms.
Show or model to children how much you enjoy reading. Share and show pictures with them on what you are reading and ask them to read along with you. Have you ever noticed how the Greatest Generation of our society consists of avid readers. I see them reading in libraries, at home and outside when it is pretty. They know where wisdom comes from.
October is recognized as “National Reading Group Month.” Its mission is to promote the value of books and reading by gathering a group of friends to form a book club which can provide fellowship with new friends where you can read passages from a chosen book and discuss the content. It is a good way to welcome people who are new to our community.
Let’s get out and enjoy this beautiful Autumn season.
Beth Pinyerd has served as an Early Childhood teacher for many years. She hold a masters’ degree in early childhood education.