Well, the weather here has begun to take a turn towards the cooler fall temperatures and I have been forced to break out the winter coats, although this past weekend was somewhat of the exception. The other week, my husband was driving to work and saw snow! I’m not one for the cold weather. I prefer to be warm and toasty, maybe drinking some hot chocolate by the fireplace. What about you? Do you like this cold, almost winter weather? We are also quickly approaching Remembrance Day here in Canada, Veterans Day in the United States. This is a time where we remember and thank the soldiers who sacrificed so much so that we could enjoy the many freedoms that we have today.
There are times where I find myself outside on cold and rainy/snowy days and just shiver and stand there because I think it is too cold to move. But then as I begin talking with my students about what is Remembrance Day and why it is important, I begin to re-evaluate my thinking. I have a warm winter coat to wear and an umbrella to keep off the rain. I have a place of shelter from the wind and other elements when my 30 minutes of outdoor supervision is over where I can go to get warm again. I have dry socks and clothes to change into when I need to. The soldiers who fought for the many freedoms that we have were considered to be extremely lucky if they had even one of these things during World War I or II. This is a reality that many of our children may not understand.
Each year, I read “A Bear In War” and “A Poppy is to Remember” to my students. The first is an amazing true story of a soldier, a medic, who fought during WWI told from the perspective of a teddy bear sent to him by his daughter. This story allows children to see that life is not always as they know it, that there were many people who gave up everything they had – even their lives – so that we could know this life today. I follow it up with the second book to get them thinking about why Remembrance Day is important. How will your family honour the sacrifices made, and the sacrifices that continue to be made this year?
Erica Schuster, Teacher Grade 1/2A