The 2019-20 school year is well underway and happiness abounds!

Teachers, bus drivers, school secretaries, aides, assistants, maintenance staff and our leadership team are all thrilled to have classrooms, buses and hallways filled with the vibrancy of our young people.

Parents and guardians, for the most part, are also excited to have their children back in school. I often hear, “Summer was great, but we’re ready for the routine the school year brings.”

And our students are ready, too. They’re ready for daily time with their friends, to jump back into learning and to take part in all the activities offered throughout the year.

Routine is actually good for us – all of us. It provides predictability and supports good habits like healthy eating, a standardized bedtime and quality sleep.

Within a month or two, though, everyone seems to get a little restless. They start to crave some of the “wild” and “free” feelings and experiences that are the hallmark of the summer season. I believe that’s natural and good. In fact, I think we should not just listen to that part of our natural instinct, but also consciously seek it out and find a way to make it part of our routines.

I know I didn’t finish my summer “bucket list” of things to do right here in Grand Haven and in our surrounding communities. So, I am making sure to leave some unplanned time in my weekend and evening schedule to consciously, but spontaneously, keep checking off that list.

While we all thrive on routine, our brain also craves things different and new. And the youngest minds in our community need to fulfill that craving the most.

We’ve all heard that the young mind soaks in everything around it like a sponge. Teachers everywhere have a passion for engaging those minds, helping them to grow and develop to their greatest capacity. As the saying goes: “Variety is the spice of life!”

We are ready to offer the best balance of predictable routine coupled with enough variety to keep learning fresh and relevant. That variety is important in every aspect of our lives, from the food we eat to the sights we see to our physical activity and social interactions.

So, keep those summer “vibes” going! Seek ways to live within your routines – they’re safe and predictable. But maybe keep that list (on paper or in your head) of the easy and engaging things “we never have time for” and make time to do them! I promise it will make a positive difference in your daily life and in the lives of those around you.

Most importantly, the children around you will benefit from your role modeling and the experiences you support that grow and enrich both your mind and theirs.

About the writer: Andy Ingall is superintendent of Grand Haven Area Public Schools.

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