This year as your child heads off to school, plan to be a more significant part of his or her academic life. Your child may disappear for many hours each week, but with a little thought, and some help from Heritage Makers, you can be an important presence DURING the school day. Ensure your child feels loved, make learning more fun, strengthen his or her bonds with others and preserve as many precious school memories as you can. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
If you took the typical photos of their latest haircuts, this year’s teacher or their school clothes and backpacks; don’t wait until the end of the school year to show off your photos. A few weeks to a school child feels like years. Make scrap pages and smaller projects for your younger children and celebrate them early and often. More frequent reinforcement will help them see school as something your family values. Templates that work well for back-to-school topics include "Pre-School Girl," and “First Day of Kindergarten,” both by Michelle Bedard; along with “Maya's Haircut” by Cynthia Coulon, and “1st Day of School” by Gina Brock.
Take the opportunity to be present in your child’s life every school day by tucking a personalized playing card into each child’s lunch or backpack. Tell a joke, affirm their worth or encourage them to do their best by using “Lunch Box Love Notes,” by Jennifer Stratton; “Lunch Joke Cards,” by Cynthia Coulon or “Big Kid Lunch Notes,” by Kari Pieratt. It’s like sending a hug to school with them!
Prepare for spotlight day. Most classes for younger kids feature each child at least once during the year. Collaborate with your children. Interview them and have them help select facts and photos for their very own poster. Cynthia Coulon designed 18 x 24 poster templates for just this purpose, "School Girl Spotlight Poster," and "School Boy Spotlight Poster." Or, use other posters in the Template Gallery as a base for such spotlights. If YOU do YOUR homework, you can showcase your child with style!
Building relationships with classmates is a big part of the school experience. Be sure to take photos of your child with the friends you’ve come to know as loyal and supportive. This is a subtle but effective tool to boost the importance of peers that encourage your child to be his or her best. Use the photos to make meaningful gifts for such friends or make copies of your scrap pages for them. Good 12 x 12 scrap page templates to start with include “BFFs,” by Michelle Bedard; “School BFF,” by Deanna Payne & Shanna Vineyard; “School Friends,” by Cynthia Coulon and “Sports Day,” also by Michelle Bedard.
Another way to use photos of those close to your child is to make a “My Fantastic Friends” 7 x 5 storybook by Lori Mar. This pocket size book will be loved now and treasured later and makes a wonderful birthday gift for the featured friends. Including your child’s friends in preserving memories influences his or her choice of lifelong companions. Play this important part in building your child’s relationships and you better fulfill your role as a parent.
template 59101 Other Heritage Maker products that facilitate friendships are our “play date cards.” These are made from playing or business card sets. Use the card to start the arrangements for a visit from a friend. Two playing card “play date cards” are shown here. The top one is from Tanya Sadal and called “Boy Dinosaur Play Date Cards.” The one below is “Space Playdate Cards,” by Kristen Melnyk.
Boost your child’s skills and encourage competency by using playing card decks as learning aids. There are several already in the template gallery. If you need something different, simply change a template to fit your child’s needs. “Savannah's Grade 1 Sight Words,” by Heidi Jackson is a good one, so are “Sight Words,” by Luci Fortune and “HM Pre-School Flash Cards,” by Roxanne Buchholz.
If your child writes, be sure his or her writing is honored and encouraged. Roxanne Buchholz has wonderful 11 x 14 print templates that can be used for writing or poetry. In four colors, designated by season, the ones shown here are “HM Poetry Poster – Summer” and “HM Poetry Poster – Fall.” Perhaps a sport or art is where she shines. Reward perseverance and hard work anywhere you find it by searching the Template Gallery for ways to document and promote it. We have templates for nearly every interest.
template 52111One of the best ways to foster any kind of talent or achievement is to acknowledge it often. As your child masters learning tasks at school, have some playing cards on hand that reward hard work with a treat or special outing. Heather Benson’s “Super Kid Reward Cards,” is a great set for a super-hero-loving child. “Totally Girl Coupons,” by Shelley Pettis takes the same idea in a more feminine direction.
Plan ahead and you’ll have clever and inexpensive Christmas gifts for teachers and friends, personalized Valentines and end-of-year thank you gifts for those who have taught your children. Put “teacher,” “gift” or “Valentine” in the Template Gallery search field and you’ll find hundreds of great holiday gift ideas. Use “Math Teacher Tile,” 6 x 4 Invitation by Lynda Angelastro and mount to foam core or floor tile for a fun gift for a teacher or use a playing card deck, “HM POP-ular Gift Tags,” by Roxanne Buchholz and customize the front of the card for different children in the same family. Attach to a bag of fancy popcorn and you have a wonderful teacher gift.
One of Heritage Makers most popular children’s products are personalized valentines made from double-sided business cards. With 50 to a set, they are economical and lots of fun. Shown above are “School Fish Valentines,” by Cynthia Coulon; “You're a Hoot,” by Lynda Angelastro; “I Wheelie Like You,” by Nicole Hutmacher and “You're Outa this World,” by Michelle Bell. Check the Template Gallery for loads of other themes.
Make School Important
At the end of the school year, do sum up your child’s experiences in an 8 x 8 storybook. Roxanne Buchholz has an entire series, one for almost every age. Check out templates Pre-School-25797, K-81118, 1st-56434, 2nd-56433, 3rd-86295, 4th-85577, 5th-76275, 6th-25798, 7th-86192 and HS-25796. A child’s yearbook can become a powerful tradition that underscores the importance of education.
Bottom line, take an active role in your child’s school life today and you contribute significantly to your child’s school success tomorrow and their lives forever after. Get started today, it’s an effort that really pays off. And realistically, if you don’t do it, who else will?