If there is one thing us “Cranstonites” can agree on, it is that we have one of the best districts in the state of RI with some of the most fantastic, gifted, teachers and elementary school children (if I do say so myself*lol). We love our schools, educators and kids! However, I am sure we can also agree that keeping cool in this summer-like heat improves focus, retention and test scores. When a classroom is hotter than a heated sauna, no one is productive; teachers or students. Children with asthma are placed in a dangerous situation, other children are at danger of developing heat stroke, and well, I just feel sorry for the teachers/educators. Ever wonder why buses run for free when the weather gets too hot, or why the elderly are encouraged to stay indoors and take extra care of themselves? Well, there you go! Common sense at work is a beautiful thing.
Why are you writing this article Mrs. Roach? Well, thank you so much for asking! Would you like to hear it? Here it goes…After dropping my own kids off in the morning in my air conditioned car and then leaving my air conditioned house to pick them up after school, the heat hit me like a ball of smoke from an exploding oven when I decided to walk instead to get them that afternoon.( I live close to the school). As I arrived to pick up my two boys from their wonderful, hardworking school, I arrived just in time to wait 5 minutes or so for the release bell to ring. While waiting, I was naturally concerned when I noticed a classroom of children also waiting with their teacher already dripping in sweat. (literally.) I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the children and educators being forced to work and learn under such conditions. That being said, all blame aside, whether it is due to financial mismanagement or lack of resources etc., I just really hope something is done about that issue for our children soon! Especially since mine suffer from asthma. Yet, whining is not in my DNA. So I came up with 4 great ways to beat the heat in school. I hope I see some of these in effect so I can at least smile as my boys come towards me beaming in sweat after school.
- Make drinking fun! (Theirs not yours.) – I have seen tons of memes about teachers and wine which, I totally get just being a mother of three, but I am actually talking about hydration of our kiddies here. The schools have been excellent with letting our kids go to school with water bottles and allowing them to keep them at their desks. This is a blessing on hot days like today. It gives the kids necessary hydration and parents like myself peace of mind. Some advice parents? Freeze them! Whether you use cool animal shaped bottles, insulated bottles, character bottles or just regular store bought bottles, freeze ’em and have fun with it!. That way, the water is always nice, cold, and refreshing. If your kids need thawed water for the morning commute, take them out (the water bottles not your children) 45 minutes or so before you leave. By the time they get to school it should begin to melt. Towards the end of their first class lesson, it should be completely thawed in the heat. You can also empty out half of the water bottle before you freeze it and then refill the rest in the morning. Do whatever works for you. My kids have actually made a game of it. They put their water bottles out before their morning shower and guess whose ice will melt first. So far the daily scores are 3 to 1…Be creative and have fun with it.
- “Cold Rewards” System – This one is for teachers of course. Positive reinforcement is required in every school I am sure, and being a mom of a child on the autism spectrum, I have to come up with lots of “off the cuff” reinforcements on a daily basis. So, I thought of a few reinforcers for educators. I call it the “Cold Rewards” system which is basically rewarding kids with something fun and COLD. “Got that question right? Here’s an ice pack!” Are you blessed with a great class day full of sweating obedient children? “Sprinkler reward at recess,” or “water balloon fights at gym!” Did that C student of yours just volunteer to lead the story reading and make you happier than a Patriots fan seeing Tom Brady entered back into the football season? Here’s your reward: “The fan is pointed directly at you, my star student, for two whole minutes! Woohoo!” Goodness. I have tons of ideas like this. But I will stop here. Be creative teachers! Your there regardless. May as well make it fun!
- Mini handheld fans please! – For some reason, students are not allowed to bring mini, handheld, battery operated fans to school. (Like the ones you see at Walmart or the dollar tree). I think that rule should change. If safety is a concern or kids being disruptive with them in class is a concern, I do have an easy solution for that. Would you like to know what it is? It exists in every mall, store, district office, home, and car. It’s called air conditioning. GET IT!
4. Listen. This one is meant to be more of a preventative measure. But, this is the best way to prevent the heat from hurting our little ones. Listen to the parents and educators requesting relief from the scorching heat. Listen to the voters & parents who voted in favor of the schools/libraries renovation fund in the hopes they would be purchased as part of said renovations. Listen to the kids if they say they are lightheaded or dizzy, believe them…or if an asthmatic is coughing uncontrollably, take necessary precautions. Help them with the inhaler. Trust me, as a person who has been studying and teaching behavior modification for 12 years, a child’s complaints are not always a “task escape” mechanism. But then again, if it is in this scenario, can you blame them?
Do I have all the answers? Of course not. If I did, would I be freezing water bottles? But, I still have a voice and hope in our school district. I am also extremely grateful for our educators and the fact there are only a few more weeks left of September. But, let’s continue to show our love and support of our schools, educators and children. These hot months are not going away. We will most likely face this issue again in the beginning and end of each school year(especially if we have unexpected snow days this winter). So, let’s increase focus, productivity and overall moral! Parents & teachers, perhaps we can do something? Administration, well, get freakin’ air conditioning…or give them yours. (whichever works and is most cost-effective for you).
That is all.