Seasonal Traditions

Most likely we all have a favorite holiday tradition or two…something you treasure each year as the season comes around again.  Whether it’s placing a special ornament on the tree, watching a holiday movie together, visiting family and friends, making treats, or doing a familiar activity together, you have something you don’t want to miss.

santa1My girls, Rachel and Hannah, would always write cleverly decorated notes to Santa the day before Thanksgiving in order to give them to him the day after Thanksgiving when we woke up early to go to his first story time of the season.  We never missed this treasured tradition or the chance to visit personally with him; he also remembered their names every single year too!  🙂

So…here’s your question for today:  What are your favorite Christmas or holiday traditions and how do you honor them each year when the season rolls in again?  In whatever way your family chooses to define the holiday season, take time to reflect with your child on these special traditions.  If you don’t have a favorite tradition, here’s hoping you start one this year!santa2

Speaking of Santa, we need to thank him for taking time out today to stop by several of our LME younger classrooms to “check on grades,” give out hugs, take some pictures, and share a laugh or two.  He even found our friend, Fisher, wearing something similar to him today; what a great conversation this was too!  🙂  Thanks, Santa; we sure love you!

Note:  Angel Tree gifts are due on Wednesday this week.  Thanks for all you are doing to support those in need in our learning community.

A letter to my child…

While enJOYing the buzz of meaningful conversation during the Educational Showcase last night, a young learner gingerly tugged on my arm and this dialogue followed:

  • Child:  Just exactly why were you not at Miller Rally or at school on Friday?
  • Me:  I flew with Mr. Van to California to see our daughter graduate from college again.
  • Child:  Why is she graduating again?
  • Me:  Because she wanted more school time for the work she plans to do in her future.
  • Child:  Well, I missed you and you should have just written her a letter instead of going out there.  🙂

Of course, this had me thinking about what I might say in a letter to my daughter today.  Just like her lunchbox in elementary school, she’s accustomed to receiving little notes and funny cards (with monetary surprises at times) in her mailbox on a fairly regular basis (we are “note” people in our house).  She has heard me say (at least a thousand times) to “plan your work; work your plan; autograph your work with personal excellence.”  As an educator’s child, she has endured countless school programs and events, parent conferences in the grocery store, and some of the funniest supper and story time conversation imaginable.  Rachel knows her dad and I only ask and accept her personal best, no matter the endeavor…she never disappoints either.

Here’s the part you don’t fully synthesize when you meet your child for the first time:  All children enter this life free of time or worry, carrying great hope for JOY, celebration, and unconditional love.  Their delicate beginning reminds us how rich and fragile life is, that beauty is everywhere, and every personal connection has profound meaning.  Children bring great JOY and sometimes sorrow; good days and not-so-good days, but they live up to what we believe of them!  It’s true; the days of raising children are long but the years are sadly short.rva2

So here’s hoping you write a letter to your child occasionally.  Talk about the successes, hopes, and dreams; talk about growth and lessons learned…just remember to talk!

For now, congratulations, Rachel, on completing your Master’s degree with highest honors at USC in LA (Fight on!)…oh, and your letter’s in the mail!  xoxo  🙂


XOXO . . . It’s Valentine’s Day here at LME . . . a day filled with HEARTy learning opportunities for all!  In first grade, we found these friends were sharing what they love in the writing center and then singing a poem called “I Love…” 



They also enJOYed working challenging math problems with special manipulatives during math centers (better check those backpacks for all manner of items when you get home tonight; you never know what may show up!).

Our Head Start friends shared their amazing work from centers today by creating artful notes and cards for their families.  Giovani practices writing his letters during center time.




It is always insightful to visit with young learners about the meaning of customs in our society.  For instance, a first grade friend shared with me, “Mrs. Van, did you know Valentine’s Day started because a kind man cared about others?”  🙂  Another learner chimed in to share, “Yeah, and children wrote him notes ‘to my Valentine’ thanking him for his ‘passion’ (compassion) and stuff.”  🙂  Another child wrote these words in a card to me today:  “Mrs. Van, The ‘love day’ is finally here and you remind me of St. Valentine; he was a man with many friends for he was brave and kind.  Lots of children wrote him notes and letters they loved to send, then a holiday was named for their very special friend. Thanks! XOXO”  🙂  How clever is this writer and what JOY her words brought to my soul!   I reminded everyone this morning during morning message:  “I hope you choose to show your love to others every single day (and not just on Valentine’s Day)!”  Here’s hoping you choose to share the love as well . . . thanks for sharing your learners with us everyday!  XOXO  🙂