E-mail boxes are full of Back-to-School promos, supply lists have been sent out, 2015-16 School Year calendar dates circulate among friends and family. Covered-toe shoes are hauled out from the back of closets, and pediatricians are contacted for annual physical scheduling. It’s Back-to-School mania. And on many levels, it’s quite simply, awful.
Which is why I totally understand if you stop reading when I state that the most essential item on your Back-to-School list is unequivocally delightful. Restorative and joyful.
Because before Back-to-School can happen, summer has to finish. And I’m pretty sure your summer list rocks! In his NY Times article “Relax! You’ll Be More Productive”, Tony Schwartz reminds us that “the importance of restoration is rooted in our physiology. Human beings aren’t designed to expend energy continuously. Rather, we’re meant to pulse between spending and recovering energy.”
At Hudson Country Montessori School, the two-page Summer Homework Guide lists items along the lines of: climb a tree, catch fireflies in a jar, watch the Perseid meteor shower, and build a birdhouse. HCMS understands the importance of stepping back, quieting the mind, and “looking to the outdoors for certain answers to secret questions” (Maria Montessori, From Childhood to Adolescence). Peaceful, engaging renewal is an integral tenet of the Montessori philosophy.
So before you attack that closet and run an exhaustive Internet search on backpacks, consider putting on an old T-shirt and making mud pies with the kids. After all, you’re essentially helping them prepare for Back-to-School!