“Happy Children” is the theme of our September Back to School night. It sounds like an obvious goal for children to be happy at school, but it is too often overlooked as a component of effective learning. Most teachers recognize that children need to have their physical needs met and their academic capacity challenged, but some may overlook the importance of smiling faces and truly happy children. Teachers at Dancing Moose understand the significance of the social/emotional aspect of teaching and learning. In fact at Dancing Moose, being happy is the heart of the classroom for teachers and students.
Teachers refer to children as friends because they are just that—friends. Of course the teacher is the guide, the facilitator, and a figure of respect in the classroom, but the most significant identifier is that she is a friend to students, and students are friends to the teacher and one another. The concept of being a friend is an inclusive, respectful, and necessary ingredient for feeling happy at school. Each child deserves to feel like an important part of the classroom community, and when children connect to the teacher and one another, their mood is elevated and their mind is ready to explore, concentrate, and achieve.
Creating and maintaining a happy classroom is a goal that deserves regular attention. If a child feels unappreciated or perhaps even devalued by anyone at school, his or her ability to feel the calmness necessary to discover and absorb new information is compromised. The effect is detrimental to all of the classroom goals for teaching, learning, and feeling good about oneself. We will continue to emphasize ways that children can respect and support one another to keep a healthy pulse on learning at Dancing Moose.