Local students were recently featured on the covers of the four Northeast Ohio Parent Fall Education Guides. Ranging in grades preschool through senior year of high school, these kids (and their parents) share some of their favorite things about each grade, plus some advice for others.
Magnolia, 4, preschooler at Tremont Montessori
Magnolia’s mom Holly Maldonado describes her as a 4-year-old who “has a kind, silly spirit with a big heart for those in her life.”
A typical preschool day begins with Magnolia “Noli” greeting her teachers and friends, a quick breakfast and then lots of fun activities.
“She gets right to work, working with learning materials,” Maldonado says. “Noli loves working independently and with her friends on puzzles, math and language activities.
Every day after lunch Noli gets to play outside, nap and participate in special classes like art, music, computers and gym.”
A few of her favorite things to do are taking care of her baby dolls and making art projects.
Maldonado, who is an early childhood teacher, says her “biggest piece of advice for new preschool parents is to focus on getting your child independent with self-care before they begin.”
“For example, zipping their coat, opening their food, etc.” she says. “This will help them feel confident as they enter the classroom.”
Grace, 6, first-grader, Westlake
Whether she’s raising butterflies in the classroom, looking forward to pizza day at lunch, playing with her friends at recess or going on nature walks with her class, Grace is embracing all things elementary school.
“She is very observant and curious and takes in everything like a human sponge,” says Grace’s mom Sunita Mathew.
“She loves to read too and was an early reader. She teaches me things already. Just the other day she was telling me how to distinguish between a female and male monarch butterfly (the males have spots).”
In addition to her regular day at school, Grace does some extracurricular activities like art, Bollywood dance, and most recently the school musical.
Elementary-aged kids still need a lot of parental guidance and Sunita’s advice for parents is to make sure they have a voice.
“You know your child the best, so don’t be afraid to advocate for them,” Mathew says. “During these early formative years, it is important to address your child’s needs. Go at your child’s pace, so they don’t feel overwhelmed or over scheduled.”
Dwight,12, seventh-grader at Norton Middle School
Dwight is an “outgoing, silly, and fun” seventh grader, according to his mom, Tanya Hodges, and is involved with flag football and soccer as well as student council and the builders club at school.
His favorite subject in school is math and he is really enjoying tech class, where he recently had a chance to live broadcast school announcements.
“These video announcements tell the students news for the day like the weather, what’s for lunch, birthdays, teacher’s announcements, events going on afterschool,” Tanya Hodges says.
Middle school is the time where kids really start to grow their interests and hobbies. It’s also the time when school assignments can become more challenging and learning to balance it all can be a struggle for parents and their tweens.
Tanya Hodges says there’s three things middle school parents should stay on top of — communication, time management, and organization.
“Your middle school student will be required to be more responsible,” she says. “Good communication with your student and your student communicating with his teachers keeps everything on the right path.
Tim management with Dwight is our key to being successful with school work and sports. Allowing time for Dwight to get all his school work done to being able to play outside with friends. It’s very crucial to his mental and physical success. Organizations in school is very important. Teaching Dwight how to keep his school work organized keeps him on track. Knowing when things are due by using his school planner helps him.”
Heath,18, senior at Chardon High School
As a senior at Chardon High School, Heath balances school, sports, family and friends.
“He is in all AP classes so his schedule is rigorous,” Heath’s mom, Julie Fetchik, explains. “Any off time during the school day is spent on homework, then football or baseball, depending on the season.”
Her advice for high school parents is to stay involved and soak in the last few years of having your child at home.
“It’s long days, but short years,” she says.
“Make every moment count. Secondly, take advantage of programs and activities your school and community offer. There are so many programs/opportunities for every student to be part of something in high school.”
Heath says he enjoys the social aspect of school and his advice for incoming high schoolers to make the most of their experience.
“Finish your work ahead of schedule if you can,” he says. “Get involved and be social at school. The more you are involved, the better your experience will be.”