Thoughts on Education: Spring Fever
As a child, I am sure that I was one of those students who exhibited symptoms of the notorious Spring Fever. Although I enjoyed going to school and showed a great sense of curiosity, I could hardly wait to engage in active, outdoor play for as many hours of the day as possible – baseball, street hockey, tree house fun. Over the past 10 years as an educator, I have experienced Spring Fever from a different vantage point; namely, addressing the needs of students who indeed ‘feel’ the arrival of Spring.
To many observers, springtime behaviour may appear as excitement, restlessness or lethargy. There are a number of factors that may impact whether or not a student experiences Spring Fever. At OMS, through a home and school partnership, we can work together to keep children happy, focused and engaged in their learning. In order to accomplish this goal, it is important to understand more about this body and mind phenomenon.
Changes in the weather common in the springtime may create disruptions in routine. We are all attuned to daily schedules, and for many children, the rapid changes in day-to-day weather can be a real challenge. Adults and teachers working collaboratively to keep routines as normal as possible, as well as providing activities that are highly engaging, are helpful. For example, changing from winter clothing to spring-summer clothing, particularly for younger children, may disrupt a child’s sense of routine. Keeping your child’s clothing preferences in mind as you make the switch to lighter, brighter outfits is an important consideration. In keeping with Montessori philosophy, being involved in each day’s choice of clothing empowers children to take small steps towards handling changes in their feelings and the environment around them with a positive approach.
In some cases, Spring Fever may actually be a response to allergies that cause your child to feel lethargic and tired. This may present itself as distractibility or a loss of concentration. The onset of this sort of behaviour, especially if aggravated by itchy eyes, headaches or sniffles, should be treated as a cue to check with your pediatrician. Further, unexpected growth spurts may challenge a child’s dexterity, motor control and sensory alertness. Our awareness of these potential reactions and changes enables us to provide extra support, patience and proactive choices during episodes of ‘Spring Fever.’
Sometimes Spring Fever just reflects the excitement a child feels at the thought of spending days outside engaged in creative play, recreational activities or relaxing with family and friends. It can then simply be characterized as an opportunity for parents and teachers to motivate children to live in the moment. Let us all take time to appreciate the sights, sounds, smells and joyful events that make spring a time of refreshing renewal.
The ancient saying, “There is nothing in the intellect which was not first in some way in the senses,” and the senses being explorers of the world, open the way to knowledge, says Maria Montessori.