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Back in the Swing
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West Elementary fourth-grade student Liyah Johnson jumps at the opportunity to assist teacher Ashley Gore with a lesson on ecosystems. - photo by Margaret Hobbs

The holidays are over and it’s the start of a new year and a new semester for Warren County students. How are families with children adapting to the drastic swing of events, especially to their day-to-day schedules? 

Most children are somewhat ready to get back to school, to be with their friends and get in a comfortable routine. Probably the most difficult is readjusting the sleeping and eating patterns. Good nutrition is vital for good health, as well as getting lots of sleep to feel and perform your best. 

When quizzed about their holiday break schedules, most of the West Elementary fourth-graders in Ashley Gore’s class agreed they stayed up later than usual, and slept in longer. 

Sam Patel said, “I stayed up late, and played video games most of the day. It was fun to sleep in, but I did get some reading done to earn AR points.” 

Most also agreed they missed their friends at school, but had fun while out of school, with some traveling to visit family. 

Dylan Aguilar went to Houston to visit his dad’s family and said the best part was a visit to a trampoline park. 

“I got to go to my grandma's about three hours away, and we had lots of fun playing games,” said Alexis Bernardo. “I did something that made me feel good. I gave some of my own money to a homeless person I saw downtown. It was nice to help make someone happy.” 

Most of the children, and Gore, said they feel they do better to keep on schedule. It’s proven that establishing routines provides children with important skills for life. According to, routines provide the external structure children need while their internal structure is still developing. 

West instructional coordinator Tammy Byars said, “Children do much better on a schedule, and I have students tell me they miss school and the people here. I think they miss the relationships that school brings, and we all agree breaks are necessary and are vital to our mental health.” 

The ability to manage multiple demands is determined by the part of the brain that doesn’t fully develop until our 20s, meaning it’s the parent’s responsibility to provide a regular routine to help children organize and manage their daily life. Gradually the responsibility is transferred to the child as their brain develops, ensuring they can learn to manage themselves. 

Gore says the first thing on her to-do list was to review the students on the things they were working on before break. 

“We had to review, because we all forget sometimes,” said Gore. “We are getting into some new stuff, and we are starting to prepare for the TCAP testing which will come up in April. My goal is to make it fun for them.” 

With the students getting back in school, many have memories from the holiday to recall. Liyah Johnson was especially happy when her dad proposed to her mom on Christmas Eve.

“It was so exciting and he surprised my mom,” said Johnson. “She said yes, and it made me so happy.”