School is finally starting after what seemed to be years of summer break.
But the back-to-school pictures that typically fill the internet this time of year with images of neatly dressed children with toothless smiles failed us this year. The internet was filled with pictures, but this time it was of crying children. It didn't matter whether they returned to school physically or virtually. In both situations, children were crying and with them their teachers and parents.
I have seen children crying because they can hear their friends' voices but can't see them, and some were raising their hands and getting no response from the teacher. Some others were crying because they couldn't understand what the teacher was saying behind that mask. Can you blame them?
It is a tricky school year, and it is still only starting, but it doesn't have to continue this way.
I believe that the solution to this problem is in the hands of children. Believe it or not, young children are brilliantly capable of several secret tools that could clean this mess completely. These tools are imagination, creativity, and magic. Yes, seriously!
Remember this video back in 2018 about the cleaning crew at a children's hospital who dress up in superhero costumes when they wash the windows? Now think again about the impact that this simple change made in the lives of hospitalized children and their families.
Imagination and pretend play offer a great opportunity for us to escape the rigidity of the current situation create a more dynamic alternative.
Instead of placing a child in front of a computer screen like miniature adults, try setting them up in a tent or fort for example or under a table and call it a castle. Or if you can't move the electronic setup, maybe there is a way to work around your setup.
I mean, we adults have been playing around with zoom backgrounds to add some humor and mix things up a bit. Why would children need anything less? In fact, children need much more of that magic than we do.
Forget changing the space, try allowing children to dress up for a day and see what happens. As long as they are able to maintain their discipline and respect school rules, why not turn the classroom - virtual or physical - into a fun experience that extends beyond the cold walls of reality?
Who knows, maybe dinosaur school turns out to be more productive after all!