Snow days and what do we do with them? I came across this blog posting about how to teach our students when we can’t be with them. This thought, I’m sure, was brought on by the fact that many of us in New England, and perhaps other places in the US, had two weather related canceled school days this week alone. Here in Western Massachusetts, we’ve had 4 – 6 snow days this month depending upon the school district.
The blog is informative and helps provide teachers with some good ideas of how to offer content, create a learning environment and stay in touch with students who have need to stay home – either due to weather or illness related school closings. As a community college instructor myself; it’s been great to have access to email and a learning platform where we could at least keep up with assigned written work this week.
For me, though, a bigger, more foundational question is, why are we worried about how to teach students on snow days? What happened to freedom to choose for yourself how you would spend time? Children fortunate enough to live in areas that have this situation fill them with as many activities that are not school as their parents and guardians have the patience for! Sledding, ice skating, fort and snow people construction, maple snow, board games, maybe even some TV and video games.
When did it become important to structure and plan every moment of a child’s life? Go ahead and google such expressions as “importance of play” “creativity and play” and try mine: “importance of boredom for young children.“ It’s incredibly valuable to the process of creative thought and problem solving to have moments, and yes, snow days, to be bored and figure out what to do with your time. Are we going to use technology now to fill up every space in a child’s life? And, while we’re at it, try searching “nature and young children” and read about the value of outdoor time to a child’s well-being.
Freedom to solve problems, create new games, talk to a friend, eat some dessert in the middle of the day, lay back in the seat by the window and watch the snow fall while your toes begin to tingle as they warm up after building a huge snow family, talk to yourself and imagine your future…the stuff of snow days.