Spring Fever

Posted May 25, 2017

by Sarah Kern

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Merriam Webster defines Spring Fever as “a lazy or restless feeling often associated with the onset of spring.” It’s in the dictionary, but is it real? Based on my online research, any evidence of Spring Fever is purely anecdotal, yet it’s been written about by poets and great minds for centuries.

Mark Twain said, “It’s spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you’ve got it, you want—oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”

To add to the wealth of anecdotal evidence, Spring Fever at All Seasons Preschool is very, very real, and it happens every year. In the last few weeks, parents have told me about their children’s recent sleep disturbances – “He was up at 4 am;” “She could not settle down and go to sleep;” “He refuses to nap!” Others report changes in appetites or attitudes. Spring Fever at All Seasons is multi-faceted; our soon-to-be graduates are, frankly, wired. Many struggle to sit still, no longer effortlessly engage in productive play, and dissolve into fits of silliness with friends. Is it the looming change of kindergarten that affects them? The changing weather? The need for a new challenge? We think it’s all of the above, and every spring, we discuss how to keep this group engaged for the last few weeks of school. Some seem to need outdoor time in spades; they are insatiably energized. Others prefer the challenge of a board game or a long-term project, like writing a multi-chapter story, or visiting a new grandma or grandpa upstairs.

We teachers, too, have our own version of Spring Fever. We’re scrambling to organize our year of notes and write year-end reports, our calendars are packed with special events, and we are all too aware of the ticking clock. Surely our Spring Fever affects our students, too. It really is as Mark Twain said, we don’t quite know what it is we want, but it makes our hearts ache, we want it so!

Yet this time of year is also rife with wonder. Our grounds are completely transformed, we can go without jackets, and we revel in the children’s confidence and comfort levels. They can push limits outdoors in ways they couldn’t in the fall, and their friendships are true. They problem-solve often without teacher intervention. The connections we’ve made run deep.

For some of our graduates, it seems their work at All Seasons is done; that is something we as teachers and parents can feel good about. We do our best to embrace these dwindling and precious days. They will go too quickly, as spring days always do.

True Grit

Posted May 11, 2017

By Sarah Sivright

Earth Day 021

Last month, All Seasons held one of our Parent Forums. The topic was parenting—what factors affect the way we raise our children. Some relevant influences were outlined; how we ourselves were parented, the prevailing philosophies or trends, the effects of stress, the gender and temperament of our children, etc. The session was informative and lively. But the best part of the morning was the remarkable group of women present. They would probably be surprised to be called remarkable.
When we finished discussing the many factors that influenced our parenting, the conversation turned to more personal issues with children, family, schools, culture—the factors that support parenting and those that make it more difficult.
Listening to these women express their hopes and concerns, their triumphs and defeats, wisdom and eagerness to know more, made me see the courage and vulnerability mothers show to each other when they feel safe. It’s both a tribute to the women present and to the community we’ve all built, that this kind of frank and compassionate conversation could happen.
I heard a lecture recently by a child psychiatrist who was talking about the latest brain research related to early childhood development. He mentioned the current buzzword “grit,” and emphasized how important it is to encourage children to celebrate mistakes, try again, and learn from each attempt. I thought of these All Seasons mothers—and fathers—and how, in our less-than-family-friendly culture, we often judge rather than support parents. We should be encouraging grit in adults, too. We make plenty of mistakes raising children, and it is not often that we hear, “Well, that didn’t work, but you gave it a great effort, and let’s see what else you can try?” In parenting, we have maybe the most difficult challenge we will ever take on, and where are our cheerleaders? Right here! For that morning, those mothers were willing to be open and supportive, laugh with each other, share their hard-won wisdom, and cheer each other on.20170509_080905