The Annual Day At School

Focus on the child's strengths. Emphasise and celebrate the child's "island of competence" ~ Pat Kozra

The best way to have young people perform is to celebrate every achievement and encourage every step they take. From a toddlers' first step to a running child, there is a great deal of effort put in, likewise  all students in every school do put in a great deal of effort in the calendar year, what better than the Annual Day to celebrate their effort. The Annual Day helps us showcase our ability to connect, to collaborate, to communicate and to create. This is really the essence of good education delivery at school.
Excellence in Study
Any man can help create a child but it takes a real man to love, cherish and raise that child. 
This day is not merely a day to give away the annual prizes for achievement, it is also a day to gladden the hearts of the children, the teachers, the parents and the community. All stakeholders must be involved and get an opportunity to cherish the moment. Yes, with hundreds and sometime even thousands connected with one school it is a big challenge to give due regard and recognition to many deserving, to overcome this challenge we may have may consider many occasions to help young people participate and find themselves. The only way to build leadership is to help an individual find the suitable area of excellence.

Personal and social development of a young person is possible with due emphasis in Study, Service, Skill and Sport. Some schools even have separate days to celebrate the four key areas of delivery. Yes there is the Annual Sports Day and the Annual Prize Day (devoted to academics). We must celebrate the achievement of every individual, it is most important never to compare one child with another. The schools must provide opportunity to showcase diversity and engage as many students in a wide array of showcase opportunities. An example is a musical concert or the sports day, wherein a large number of students participate and are all rewarded not because each will win a medal, but simply each child will feel special to be a cynosure of some eyes and a favourite among her/ his friends and parents too.

Traditional Rajasthani dance sequence performed by students at The Fabindia School - video courtesy Wide Angle Films
Experts in the field of education and child development tell us that building self-esteem is the key to successful living. Self-esteem is both a prerequisite and a consequence of academic success, and a dynamic relationship exists between self-esteem and skill development. Self-esteem is how we value ourselves, how we see ourselves, and how we feel about our achievements. (Winners believe in themselves!) Children don't invent a low self-image for themselves. They learn it from adults, mostly parents. Parents and teachers of children must note that having a good self-esteem is also the ticket for making good choices about their mind and body. If young people think they are important and much appreciated, they will also become leaders if their group or community. The Annual Day and such events will show that sincere interest can be more effective and meaningful than praise. 

Excellence in Skill
Events at school like debating competitions, sport matches, skill exhibitions, excursions must have parents as invitees and even encourage them to participate. In many schools the alumni and the parents get an opportunity to participate and get involved with the school community. All stakeholders must be part of the celebrations, in particular the annual day celebrations or even the prize giving. The events must have a youth icon or an impressionable person to speak to the students as they are always in search of role model in life. When we choose a chief guest or role model we must find people who have excelled in study, service, skill and sport.
Remember:
1. Children's self-esteem will be determined by the conditional acceptance they receive from others and the unconditional acceptance they receive from the parents and their teachers. The child's self-esteem is determined by success in four areas:
  • Social (acceptance and friendships) - grows by participation in events and activities.
  • Competence (in a skill area) - gives new areas to excel to each individual.
  • Physical (clothing, appearance) - need to be appreciated.
  • Character (effort, generosity) - is celebrated by participating in service, sport and activities
Compliment people... magnify their strengths, not their weaknesses.
Adapted from Boosting Your Child's Self-Esteem by Robert D. Ramsey
1. Post the child's drawings and schoolwork in prominent places. That's what the soft boards, charts and other spaces in the school / home are for!
2. Help the child to remember the good times and the good things they do. This celebration will be the essence of the personal and social development of the individual student.
3. Don't stop giving the children accolades and cheers, because you think they are grown up, getting old for display of affection is indeed a fallacy. We are never to old for a pat on the back in front of an audience!
4. Always share with your child what the teachers say with others. Silence in mentioning and celebrating the child's achievement is not good.
5. End each year in the school by reviewing the past twelve months of the individuals and their accomplishments.
Excellence in Sport
The Annual Day is a time to showcase creativity. "Creativity lies at the heart of what it means to be human. Creativity is not just about arts or certain people. We all have the capacity for creative thinking - for generating and extending ideas, suggesting hypotheses, applying imagination and looking for alternative innovative outcomes.

"Creativity seems to be a capacity that is separate from intelligence, and the ways these combine can lead to very different learning styles and levels of achievement. Children scoring high on intelligence tests are not necessarily creative. We must therefore celebrate creativity of every child and find as many days in school as possible.

The annual day celebrations of any school bring  out the essence of cultural diversity and rich heritage of the country. This is why we must celebrate the Annual Day and more at the school.

Value each child as a individual with unique strengths, needs, interests, and skills.

We will be most delighted to share the accomplishments of children in your school and family in The Bagpiper monthly newsletter, please to email the same to Mr A N Dar amarnath.dar35@gmail.com

~ Thank you to Pat Kozra for the thoughts and inputs for this article
Excellence in Service

The author of the article Sandeep Dutt takes the onus of the content and the opinions expressed are his alone. You may please email the author on sd@ebd.in for comments if any. Sandeep is the former National Director of The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award ( IAYP in India).
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References:
1. Tips and Tidbits for Parents and Teachers - Pat Kozra
2. Personal and Social Development - vision document of The Fabindia School
3. Video courtesy Wide Angle Films
Disclaimer: Images have been sourced with the help of Google User Content online and this blog claims no design or copyright please.

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