Back to School, Councillor Jan Harder, City of Ottawa


Back to School, Councillor Jan Harder, City of Ottawa

Dear Parents, Tag You’re It, Love Teachers read the sign in front of Berrigan Elementary School in Barrhaven.  Every time I went past it I got a chuckle.  I also couldn’t help but think about the lazy Summer days ahead filled with sun and fun.  Somehow here we are now, the sun barely making its appearance this Summer and the lazy, fun days at an end.  Back to school period is upon us and as parents, grandparents and perhaps even as students, we can only look forward to the new adventures that await.

I think many of us see this time as the start of a new year similar to January 1st.  If you are a teacher, it is the start of a new work year.  As a parent, it is the start of a year filled with the joy and sometimes even fear, as your child navigates a new curriculum, teachers, friends and activities.

From the moment our children head off to school with a backpack that is almost the same size as their body to when they begin the middle and high school years that carry the extra pressures of teen angst, to when they go off to university to begin their adult lives, as parents we rejoice when our children climb and soar or alternatively cry with them when they tumble on this long and challenging path.  No one ever said that parenting would be easy and we must be grateful to the women and men who dedicate their lives to make sure our children are learning the foundations they need to have to be learned citizens.  Still, our role as the first educators in our children’s lives remains paramount to their success.  We must trust that the values of our home continue to shape our children as they acquire knowledge and skills in preparation for their adult lives.


It has been a while since I have sent my own children to school.  Now I take pleasure seeing my grandchildren follow the same path albeit a different looking one.  The notebooks may have been replaced by laptops and the libraries now have almost as many computers as books but the same excitement of a fresh start, the accumulation of new knowledge, and meeting of friends remain the same.

Wishing you all the best success in the upcoming school year.

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