ISSAQUAH, Wash. — A former kindergarten teacher is releasing a book she wrote with her daughter about the mixed emotions of going back to school.
During Marcelle Waldman's teaching career, she spent years focusing on the social-emotional curriculum she says should be as important as anything else students learn, especially for students who have mixed emotions about heading back to school.
“We should first remember that most of our children don’t have a choice, they are going,” Waldman said.
Waldman's own daughter, Stella, is preparing to head into the seventh grade and has a unique compassion for anxious students after spending the past year and a half working through her own emotions and talking about them with her mom. Stella said she knows some of her friends and other students aren't necessarily excited to return to the classroom due to anxiety, fears and a myriad of other social and emotional reasons that have built up over the past several years of hybrid or at-home learning.
“At the beginning, I felt like it was hard to express my emotions to my family because I might feel embarrassed," Stella said. "But after learning that other kids have this too it made me feel more comfortable and that my mom went through it too."
Stella says talking about her emotions and ultimately co-writing a children’s book about the topic has removed a lot of her anxiety.
The mother-daughter authors received their first copy of “Feel Trip” this week and say it’s a story that starts off with what’s pictured as an ordinary day.
“We send these kids off to school every day and assume it’s just another normal day!” said Marcelle Waldman.
The picture book has fun rhyming about the many emotions that just another “normal day” can bring. Stella says that’s the whole point.
“Everyone in this world goes through a lot of emotions every single day. And how they’re all normal and all OK,” she said.
Feel Trip is an extension of Marcelle Waldman's website, FeelLinks, where she has compiled many of the social-emotional lessons she's learned as a teacher and a mother over the years. She was inspired to share due to what she feels is a gap in the education system, which drove her to help make a difference.
“I continue to feel extremely concerned with the staggering rates of depression, anxiety, behavior concerns, troubles in school, and relationship difficulties affecting our children," Marcelle Waldman said. "I absolutely needed to do something positive to help support the social and emotional well-being of our children.”
The website explains the importance of understanding emotional intelligence and provides tools for kids to better understand and label their emotions.