October 5th World Teacher’s Day

Today we celebrate those special people who teach our children. The day was created by the Director-General of UNESCO, Frederico Mayor, in 1993. It kind of surprises me that it took so long to make a day for teachers but then they have been overlooked for a long time and in many ways still are. A teacher is a person who has the ability to reach children in ways most of us can’t. They can hold their attention and break down subject matter to the level the child can understand. Please don’t treat your child’s teacher like a baby sitter, they are owed your respect.

How to celebrate – Thank a teacher for their service. Make yourself available for teacher conferences. Volunteer to help a teacher in your free time.

April 21st Kindergarten Day

If you can remember your days in Kindergarten you are probably a lot younger than I. For most of history, children stayed at home until 1st grade, actually they stayed at home and learned from mom and dad (Normally mom). In 1837, Friedrich Froebel figured out that it was better to start educating children early and introduced Kindergarten in Germany. It proved to be far better for children (And mom too!). It is surprising how much Kindergarten teaches children, beyond the obvious, it also teaches children social skills that helps them everyday of their lives. We celebrate today on Froebel’s birthday, April 21st, 1782.

How to celebrate – Visit your old Kindergarten class. (If the school still exists!) Volunteer at your local kindergarten (They can use the help) Look back at photos of when you were in kindergarten.

February 7th Bubble Gum Day

I’m not so sure about this holiday. It was created by Ruth Spiro in 2006 as an idea for fundraisers for schools primarily, although it has been done in libraries and other locations where chewing gum is not normally allowed. My question is, are enough funds raised to cover the damage caused by allowing people to chew gum where they really shouldn’t? Bubble gum generally ends up with people making bubbles that explode or the gum flies out of the mouth in the effort to form it properly. Isn’t that sort of asking for trouble? Oh well, who am I to say.

How to celebrate – Go to your local school or library and chew some bubble gum. See how large you can get your bubble before it explodes. Remember to dispose of your gum properly.

October 11th National Bring Your Teddy Bear To Work/School Day

National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work/School Day October 11th

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Come on, we all have one, a favorite teddy bear. Show some respect to that bear by taking it to work with you, or school, today and sharing your day with it.

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The teddy bear was indeed created in Theodore Roosevelt’s but oddly, by two people in two separate places – Morris Michtom in the United States and Richard Steiff in Germany.

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How to celebrate – Take your favorite Teddy Bear to work/school with you today. (You may want to sneak them out so the other teddy bears don’t know what you’re doing). Take your teddy bear to lunch. Get some professional photos of you are your teddy together.

September 28th National Ask A Stupid Question Day

Is there a stupid question that can be asked? Well, maybe… asking if there is a stupid question one can ask! The only way one can learn is by asking, and what may seem less intelligent to those of us that have experienced the subject of the question to someone who hasn’t, it’s not stupid at all.

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The day was actually created back in the 1980’s by teachers. Why? Well that is probably a stupid question… because we all know we learn more by asking than just waiting around to hear the answer to our question that may never come. So ask, maybe you lose a little pride, but who cares, if you learn for the next time then you can answer someone’s stupid question!

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As Forrest Gump put it, “Stupid is as stupid does”. It is so true! Not knowing an answer and not trying to find out the answer is the only stupid thing one can do. In all honesty, I have learned more myself by having to find out the answer to something someone asked me.

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So raise your hands and ask those questions! Or join the Society for Stupid People, because if you don’t ask, you will be one of them. Just ask any woman who is with a man who is lost and won’t ask for directions. The answer is, stay lost then!

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How to celebrate – Go ahead, ask that question you’ve always been afraid to ask. Encourage children around you to ask questions. Realize that when you get that answer to your stupid question, you aren’t stupid anymore.

April 21st National Kindergarten Day

Since 1837 people have found the benefit of sending their children to Kindergarten, whether it is to get them started early in their social development, a jump start on their educational requirements or because in today’s world so many people have to work to pay the bills, Kindergarten has now become a requirement.

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Frederich Froebel started Kindergartens in Germany. is idea was getting children acclimated to going to school. At first it was just for a half day as he did not want to tax the children, forcing them to grow up faster than they would without school. Through many mother’s tears, the idea has caught on even adding Pre-K to many school across the United States.

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There is little doubt that children do benefit from the earlier exposure to the world. They normally become more challenged and definitely are able to blend into first grade without the same stress. It allows the expectation for children to learn faster and retain more since they have had that extra year, or two, in the system.

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But there are risks involved too. Children become more independent often leading to other issues later on and children not ready to meet the demands of Kindergarten are labeled. Every child has their own personality and abilities. Some are ready at the age of 5 to begin their introduction to society, others take longer. And some meet friends that they will keep for the rest of their lives.  Each child needs to be evaluated on their own skill level but over-all, Kindergarten provides children with the chance to grow faster, learn more and the ability to blend in to society.

How to celebrate – If you have a child in Kindergarten, spend a little time volunteering there to help. Remember your days in Kindergarten, if you can remember that far back. If you have a child in Kindergarten make sure to take plenty of pictures , you will never have these days again.

April 4th National School Librarian Day

Who is the most under appreciated member of your school staff? Okay, yes, there are a number of under appreciated members of a school staff but today it is the school librarian. In most schools they maintain and operate what is called the Media Center for schools, which includes the books, newspapers, in house television station, and a number of other jobs that would never get done if not for them.

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They need to know where every book in a library is since no one knows how to use those reference cards. They often, in the younger grades, have reading time with their students and run the school book fairs.

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Some are party animals as well. They learn how to make a library fun while making sure there is no noise. They update those library cards and pick out new and relative books from thousands that are available every year.

 

While most librarians have years of experience not all are the studious type you might expect., after all… they are human too. Once they let their hair down and remove those glasses there’s no telling what, and who, you might find.

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And sometimes librarians are super heroes, after all they have all the knowledge required to solve many mysteries of the universe, or at least they know where to find the answers.

How to celebrate – Take your school librarian to lunch today.  Let your librarian know you appreciate their talents. Return all your over due books and pay the fines without arguing.

February 3rd Bubble Gum Day

Yes, yes I know… the picture says Bubble Gum Day is February 7th but it is actually the first Friday in February so this year, it’s February 3rd! It was originated by Ruth Spiro, a writer, in 2006.

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Her idea was to create a day where children could enjoy one of their favorite sports, chewing bubble gum, and serve the community at the same time. Children bring 50 cents to school to buy the right to chew gum in school for the day. In theory, the idea is that the money goes to charity, or to the school for any of a hundred different things needed. Nothing is being sold so there is no expense.

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The idea caught on and is now a fund raiser for not only schools but also libraries, churches, and community events where gum is not normally allowed. It can cause issues because many children are careless with their gum or purposely use it to leave a mess behind, but it can also teach children to be respectful and responsible.

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Believe it or not, it can also be used to make children more attentive. Chewing gum takes away a lot of their nervous energy and helps them to focus on the task at hand.

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It would be great to get animals involved in this as well, the only problem is… they don’t have pockets to carry their 50 cents in (except for maybe kangaroos).

How to celebrate – See if you school participates in this fundraiser. If not, start one at your school. Check with your local library about the fundraiser. Find an organization that can benefit from today and get them to participate.

April 21st Kindergarten Day

I have worked at an elementary school for nearly 23 years now.  While my job requires me to work with all ages from Kindergarten to fifth grade I daily see those kindergarten teachers after working with their classes all day.  The students seem fine and full of energy, the teachers look like death warmed over and ready to trade places with Rip Van Winkle.

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The idea for a school for small children started in 1779 when Johann Frederich Oberlin and Louise Scheppler opened a place for working parents to drop their children off for the day.  This was in Bavaria, Germany but rapidly begin to spread to other areas throughout the region.  In 1816 Robert Owen opened the “Infants School” in Scotland where children would be taught very basic things like manners and elementary skills.  Samuel Wilderspin elaborated on the idea in London and created the first ever “playground”.  In 1828 Countess Theresa Brunszuik opened what could be called a chain of “Infant Schools” in Hungry. But it was Frederich Flobel who opened the first “Play and Activity” institute in 1837 and gave it the name, Kindergarten in 1840.  That too is German and translated means, a “Garden for Children”.

The first Kindergarten opened in the US in Watertown, Wisconsin in 1856 but was only available to German speaking people.  Elizabeth Peabody opened the first English speaking school for tots in 1860.  The first free Kindergarten in the US opened in 1870 under the guidance of Conrad Poppenhusen.  From start to finish, this seems to be led heavily by the German influences all over the world.

Kindergartens exist in every modern day community, though there are still many children unable to attend for numerous reasons.  It varies in age, taking students anywhere for 2 years old to 7 years of age.  The roughest day is always the first day with lots of crying and anxiety… but after the mothers leave (they are the ones doing most of the crying)… the day gets down to a routine that children rapidly learn to accept and enjoy.  Children begin to learn how to cope with social expectations and the elements of what will be expected of them in the higher grades.

God bless those kindergarten teachers!  Those of us fortunate enough to have a child know what one or two of them demand at home.  Imagine that same demand coming from 12-20 of them everyday for 6-8 hours a day!

How to celebrate:  Buy your favorite kindergarten teach a box of candy, they deserve it.  Volunteer for a day to help out a kindergarten class.  Try to recall what your first day in kindergarten was like.