Jasper, my 7 year old second grader loves school. Absolutely loves it. Every single week day he's eager to get dressed, eat breakfast, help make his lunch and make sure his homework and library books are in his back pack. I also loved school, so having him love it is so extremely important to me. But here's the thing, he didn't always love it.
Preschool and kindergarten went well for him. I actually probably even told people he loved school, because he didn't complain a whole lot and enjoyed seeing his friends every day, he was learning a lot, so that was good enough right? It wasn't until a couple of months into first grade that he really developed a real passion for school. And reading and writing especially. He had this great teacher last year, we will call him Mr. D. Mr. D made learning so much fun! Jaspers exact words. He incorporated singing and dancing into their daily learning, and showed just how much fun learning and school really can be. All of a sudden, instead of asking to watch an episode of his favorite show on TV after dinner/homework was done, he asked if we could write a story together. Instead of spending his last few minutes every night playing with his spiderman toys, he asked if we could climb in bed and take turns reading Harry Potter to each other (true life, my 7 year old reads Harry Potter!)
I had the chance to volunteer one afternoon last year and my favorite part was just sitting in the back observing Mr. D and the kids. They sang and danced, to help get their energy out, before sitting down for writing time. They had the chance to write and share their poetry to the class during a poetry slam session, Jasper's personal favorite. I mean, getting 6 and 7 year olds excited about poetry? That takes some skill. But he did it!
Before Mr. D's class Jasper had never talked about writing other than something he had to do at school and sometimes for homework. Now he writes poetry, keeps a journal, talks about being an author when he grows up and absolutely loves to read. Last year at their end of year assembly, all the 1st graders were given an award, for something they were best in. Awards such as, best at mime, best line dancer, best at freeze tag, etc. Jasper won the award for 'Best Writer'. As someone who was inspired by my senior year of high school AP English teacher to write, I couldn't be more proud. I didn't have a teacher that brought out that passion in me till I was almost done with high school, and at just 6 years old Jasper found that inspiration! We continue to read and write together daily, and that passion is only growing stronger as his vocabulary and mind grows.
Over the weekend we went to IKEA, as many of you know is pretty much my happy place, to stock up on my must have Swedish goodies and to grab lunch.
Now through January 3rd, 2015, IKEA Foundation will donate $1 for every children's book and soft toy sold to children's education through UNICEF and Save the Children. Last year alone, IKEA raised over 13 million for this very important cause.
We decided to have the kiddos pick out a stuffed animal for their new baby brother, and they actually agreed on something- the pig! So he came home with us. We also picked out a couple new cuddly guys for the youngest children of the family we adopted for Christmas this year. Giving the gift of education to underprivileged children has never been easier!
So if there are any fellow last minute Christmas shoppers, this year, help give the gift of education! Swing by IKEA for some books and stuffed animals (and delicious meatballs for yourself) and you will not only have some happy kiddos on Christmas morning, you will feel amazing about the difference you are helping make in many children's lives.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.