By Beth Pinyerd
One idea I’ve gleaned from other teachers that I love to do in the early childhood classroom is choosing to celebrate a star student of the week.
I include all the children in my classroom in this positive encouragement celebration. Students are chosen in alphabetical order.
During the week a child is honored, he/she gets to sit in a special decorated desk decorated by their classmates. Children draw pictures and send encouraging notes to the star student of the week.
Parents and grandparents of the star student are invited into the classroom to share what is so special about their child or grandchild along with his or her classmates.
It is very heartwarming to hear young children encouraging their friends! After so many years of teaching, this celebration of a young child’s life can help encourage them for a lifetime! It delights this teacher’s heart to receive letters and Facebook messages from my now-grown students who are adults and have children of their own. They share with me how much this program of celebration planted a seed of encouragement into their hearts!
Normally, our homes provide a place of refuge, security, peace and where we all can let down and sense we are loved and belong. You have heard the expression “home is where the heart is.” This expression means so much to a child’s growth, development and life.
The home helps prepare a child emotionally, to learn new skills and rules of discipline as well as feel unconditionally loved and accepted.
During this time of being at home, this is a program celebration families can do with their own children! Why wait till your child or children have their birthday?
Let’s get started and celebrate your children now! Families this can be done weekly or daily.
Here are just a few suggestions. I know our families are creative and will come up with many more ways of honoring their children! I hope these few suggestions help you get started:
1) Have a treasure hunt of things related to the child that is star child for the day or week. This game can include all ages. It can be baby pictures or family pictures of the child. The star child can hide some of their favorite toys, games, etc. When coming back together after finding all the items, everyone can discuss why the items are so special.
2) Have the star child select their favorite food for the day. This does not have to be an expensive activity. Spring is a perfect time to spread out the blanket and have an outside or indoor picnic!
3) Even though libraries are closed, children can find online reading resources or have a favorite story they have put to heart and can share. The star child can choose what their favorite story is and it can be shared during family time. Special little rhymes or songs can be said and sung to fit the personality of the star child for the day or week. Stories, songs or rhymes can be illustrated by family hands!
4) Star children can choose their favorite television show or movie to watch. The family can celebrate this time together.
5) Children love different hobbies. The star child can choose a hobby such as putting model cars or planes together, making Play-Doh objects, putting a chosen puzzle together, favorite crafts, etc.
6) Giving the star child handwritten notes or pictures is a memory maker they can keep forever! These can be displayed on the refrigerator or family board where all can see! With modern technology, videos of the star child can be forever documented and shared with family.
I love God’s Word in Psalm 139:14-“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made, Marvelous are your works, And that my soul knows very well.”
Going over this truth with your child or children speaks volumes to them of just how special they are!
During this time of drawing close together as family, relationships are the most important thing in our lives. For our children to appreciate the characteristics and personalities of family members sets up a lifetime of encouragement, hope and love.
Yes, this takes time and creativity, but it is well worth taking advantage of the time we have together right now. Coming together as families in looking for the best in each other can bring rainbows of promise for children’s lives!
Pinyerd has taught young children in the early childhood classroom for 34 years as well as outreaching to the elderly in intergenerational settings. She has taught and outreached in the schools in Opelika and Baldwin County. She holds a master’s degree in early childhood education as well as a bachelor’s degree in family and child development both from Auburn University. Her husband is the late Carl Pinyerd and she has one son, Gus Pinyerd who has taught her so much about learning. Classroom Observer is here to serve the community in sharing the wonderful teaching programs in our local public schools, private schools, and homeschools. The column is provided to enrich the education of our children, youth, and families. Classroom Observer welcomes educational news, school news, pictures, and events by e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.