WIN a Back-to-School Prize Pack for You and Your Class!

WIN a Back-to-School Prize Pack for You and Your Class!

Win healthy snacks and shoes for back-to-school

Fall school days are on their way, bringing tons of exciting new classes, friendships, and experiences. Year after year, however, there’s always one period eagerly-anticipated by kids and teenagers alike: lunch!

Growing students have big appetites, and not just for learning. Unfortunately, while good, wholesome food-for-thought has always been a priority in American classrooms, less attention has often been given to serving-up quality in cafeterias. Happily, schools and communities across the country are putting nutrition education on the lesson plan, with inspiring results!

WIN $100 OF SHOES FOR YOU PLUS $100 HEALTHY SNACKS FOR YOUR CLASS!

Inspired by the recent rise of farm-to-school programs across America, we’re giving away healthy, organic, delicious snack packs to three lucky students to share with their classes! Each of our three winners will receive $100 worth of tasty roasted hazelnuts and dried apple slices, both sourced from friendly farmers right here in our Pacific Northwest region. PLUS, each winner also gets $100 worth of Soft Star Shoes to send them back to class in comfort and style!

Getting hungry?

How to Enter:

In 50 words or less, tell us about your (or your child's) most memorable learning experience in school via the comment form below.

Updated 8/21/15: Since so many people are exceeding our 50-word limit, we will not disqualify entries that are longer. Brevity is highly appreciated, though. If you wrote in under 50 words and would like to re-submit your entry then we will only consider the newer version.

It can be inspiring or funny, adorable or odd. Please include your name and the name of your school (last names are not required—a last initial will suffice). Homeschoolers are welcome to enter, too!

RULES: One entry per person, family-friendly content only. Contest ends at 11:59 PDT, August 31, 2015. At that time we’ll choose our three favorites and contact them via the email address provided with the comment. Email addresses will only be used to contact the winners and will not be shared. Open worldwide, void where prohibited by law. If you have trouble leaving a comment then you can email your entry to us at marketing@softstarshoes.com.

WIN a Back-to-School Prize Pack for You and Your Class!

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125 Comments

  1. Janet Kay
    Teacher in Ireland wrote the following looking for the grammatical errors (not capitalizing the state and city names):
    New york is the capital of new york state.
    Me:
    New York is NOT the capital of New York state - it's Albany.
    Reply
  2. Amanda S.
    My daughter Eve always had trouble going down for naps - for the entire first year of her life, we'd have to rock and sing to her for often 30 minutes in order to get her to sleep! However, at one year old, she moved into the "young toddler room" at her wonderful daycare center, Kiddie Korner. In the young toddler room, the kids sleep on little cots, and they all voluntarily go to their cots and lie down and go to sleep for their nap. Within one week of entering that room, she was going to sleep for her naps by herself, even at home! She really just needed to see other kids her age doing the same thing in order for her to "get" it. I'm now a HUGE believer in the power of socialization that kids receive in school and group care environments. Amazing!
    Reply
  3. Saskia Tracy
    During her first year of kindergarten, my daughter received a small friend in the form of a doll. 'Mother Nature' brings each child a little one to support him/her through their first years at school. The experience of having a little one has taught Indie so many wonderful things, that truly can only come from within her own self. She has learned to care for someone else, to speak and feel freely without judgement, and to engage with on an emotional level. The most important part though, is that indie has learned to do these things on her own terms, and at her own time.
    Reply
  4. Malissa
    We homeschool so our experience is a little different. My children spend their school day outside for the most part. So far our most amazing experience has been reading about fairies and letters, and drawing our own images while 18 elk grazed 15 feet away in our yard!
    Reply
  5. Vanessa A.
    My son likes traditional boys’ toys and “girl things.” At his old daycare, other children teased him for this. He started a new, progressive preschool that addresses these issues. He’s learned that it’s OK for him to like “girl things,” and it’s OK for girls to like “boy things,” too.

    Our school: Mariposa http://mariposari.org/
    Reply
  6. Gloria B
    50 words is not much to sum up a lifetime and ending of home educating.
    But if brevity be the soul of wit, let's try a haiku:

    Twenty-one years spent
    homeschooling four lovely girls
    Smile as they succeed
    Reply
  7. Stacy
    We do Waldorf Based Homeschooling for our Special Needs Child and Typical Child. I'd say the most memorable experience for my special needs son was when he was able to first communicate all barnyard animals on his Tobii Eye Gaze device (because he is non-verbal) and that is his only form of communication and for my typical child it was watching a caterpillar turn into a butterfly this summer and watching the wonder in his eyes.... sometimes the simple learning experiences can take up the most room in your mind and heart.
    Reply
  8. Lucia R
    Every day at my daughter's preschool begins with meditation. The children gather in a circle, light candles and sit in silence for one full minute. It's amazing to see these kids full of their kid-energy become completely still and engaged in this practice. My daughter has brought the practice home with her, and now we meditate together, once in the morning, once in the evening. What a gift!
    Reply
  9. danielle
    My daughter chose a week long educational session at our local museum, a unit called Exploring Egypt. When my husband brought her there, of the 18 7-8 year olds, she was one of two girls. I was concerned, because making friends is one of her favorite things to do, and she relates to girls.

    When she came home that first day, she told me a lot about Egypt, a little about her two new besties, Emily and Jacob, and how much she was looking forward to Tuesday. Triple win.
    Reply
  10. Debi O
    Our most memorable homeschooling story: Is how my daughter started to learn to read "Little House on the Prairie". At the time we lived in Florida. The story changed how she learned,and helped me to teach to her needs. Know we are living in South Dakota and are able to visit the real places. School is never boring at our house. All the people around us call our home stead Little House on the Prairie. We call it Home.
    Reply
  11. Ping O.
    At Federal Hill Montessori, my 18-month-old daughter learned to enjoy snack with friends. Her teacher told us: “She was eager to start once she heard me say apples. I guided her to wash hands, get a bowl and fork, and use the tongs and fork. She used the fork and her hands. She was saying ‘ping guo’ (Chinese for apple) as her friends were cutting apples before snack.” May we all have such joy at the simple things in life!
    Reply
  12. Nicole B.
    Our children attend a public school in NH. We live in a small town and with public education not receiving much funding ( we are a no income tax state) I applaude our educators in their innovation. My children's favorite example is the building of an outdoor classroom, where teachers bring their class outside to learn all sorts of things and gain inspiration in this space. Even more the school established a garden club that any child from grade K-5 ( the grades that are in the Elementary school) can participate in. This is adjacent to the outdoor classroom. They learn composting, recycling, cooking etc. and from the garden the cafe serves some of the veggies as snacks.
    Nicole B.
    Newmarket Elementary School
    Reply
  13. Brandi M.
    As a homeschool graduate my most memorable experience has been making the full circle and now teach my own 5 year old daughter. I was surprised how excited I was (and am) when she first started to read- seeing your child learn to read for the first time is an amazing experience!
    Reply
  14. Allegra H.
    My daughter goes to SongGarden Preschool, in Portland Oregon.

    A memorable lesson was this: We were talking about how much Zia (my girl) loves pink. She said that she's glad she's a girl because she gets to wear pink and purple. I said that anyone can wear pink, but she didn't think so.

    The next day at school, she noticed how Fletcher (a boy at school) wears pink sparkly shoes. After school, she told me that boys can, "wear pink too" -- her interest and observation began a conversation about how boy and girls both like sparkles, and pink and can wear any color they want to - a pretty important lesson! We know notice when people dye there hair, or what colors they wear, if they have bright shoes, bag, glasses, etc. and our conversations are much more, er, colorful using color as an entry into observing and embracing difference.

    Thanks for entering Zia and our school in the contest!
    Reply
  15. Sarah
    We homeschool and my favorite part of homeschooling is being able to expound on things our kids get excited about. Last year we were reading about the trojan horse and our son immediately wanted to make his own! These kinds of experiences plus being able to be outside a bunch are the most memorable to me!
    Reply
  16. Bridget
    My daughter attends a French-language immersion school. Her teacher retired at the end of last year. The students sang her an emotional song in French the last day. Few parents understood the lyrics but we all understood the meaning when kids and teachers alike started bursting into tears.
    Reply
  17. Allison Koos Fox
    Allison Koos Fox
    My son attends a Waldorf school and for a birthday celebration they make a book. All of the children, including the birthday child, and the teachers, make a picture for the book and put a birthday wish on the back. My son's birthday wish for himself wasn't for a flying robot (a persistent birthday and Christmas wish) or cake or any other thing. It was for as many of our special rain walk dates as he wanted. It was a powerful lesson for me that day.
    Reply
  18. Maria L.
    V came home one day very concerned, they read a story in her classroom that focused on big words, like Memory. She sat down untying her shoes as her eyes lit up: You know lullaby song mom, that you sing me, the words I know! - that's Memory, mom!

    Over the past 4 years V has attended Growing up Montessori preschool Waldorf kindergarden and Wood Gormley Elementary of Santa Fe NM.
    V is a second grader now :)
    Reply
  19. Kimberly
    We are a homeschooling family. We all thoroughly enjoyed making up a whole world of characters: fairies, sprites, nymphs, mermaids, and a quirky cast of animal characters to teach our daughter her alphabet. It was quite fun and memorable!
    Reply
  20. Angelina
    My son is 5 and about to start kindergarten. Yesterday I asked him if he would like to go to school in a couple weeks. He became teary-eyed. "I'll go with you" I said to ease his anxiety. He looked up at me and asked, "Can I bring my computer?"
    Reply
  21. Melissa
    My 3-year-old son is starting Primary School in less than 3 weeks, and he started at the school's daycare about a month ago, after being at his old daycare since 7 months. He's had a very hard time adjusting to the new setting, and all the new rules that come with it. I think the best thing he has learned so far is that being flexible in new situations with new people isn't always a negative thing. He has a new little friend and enjoys packing his lunch every day, and even enjoys all the outdoor play he wasn't getting before the switch. New things can be fun!
    Reply
  22. Rebecca H.  (homeschooler)
    Rebecca H. (homeschooler)
    My most memorable learning experience is from my oldest, now 23. He was a part of a large group of kids that lived in our neighborhood and rode the bus to school. There was a girl who was being bullied on the bus. He and his friends did nothing. She stopped him one day and told him that by doing nothing he was the same as the bullies. He and his friends had the power as a group to say something. He came home and told me, he was in tears. She taught him something so important. He made a choice that day to never sit by and say nothing again. The impact we have on others is huge! That was over 10 years ago, I still get tears in my eyes thinking about it. The sweet girl who was being bullied helped teach my son how to do the right thing.
    Reply
  23. Julia
    Our son has always received hand me downs, even his Soft Star shoes have always been hand me downs. However for his first year of Kindergarten last year we bought him his very own, new pair of Soft Star shoes and he could pick out his own special colors. What a proud boy he was the first day he wore them!
    Reply
  24. Lori F
    I was helping out in my son's 1st grade classroom. He was supposed to write and illustrate a story.
    I watched as first he asked the boy to his left, "Could you please draw a car for me? Yours look so nice." While that was happening he asked the girl across from him if she would draw a hotel for him. She really just wanted to do her own work, but he kept cajoling her by telling her how nice her art work was and how much better than his ability until she gave in.
    His teacher never noticed. I thought about mentioning it and decided that building CEO skills and flattering others into getting double work done was probably a more useful life skill anyway.
    Reply
  25. Tj Mihan
    Cole M. attends Hillcrest Children's Center. The greatest thing he has learned from school is that family can extend well beyond blood relations. His friends and teachers are undeniably sisters, brothers, aunts and uncles. He loves them unconditionally and recognizes them as the family members they have become.
    Wow, 50 words or less was hard.......
    Reply
  26. Lucy B
    Last year, for kindergarten enrichment, my daughter had THE BEST teacher. My daughter learned so much more than math and language arts: different types of art and artists, everyday Spanish, caring for the environment and for others. Her teacher showed so much love to everyone and everything.
    School: KidTown, Buffalo Grove
    Reply
  27. Kristen DiBella
    30 years ago, in Kinder, i learned the most significant lesson of my formal educational career. My k teacher pulled my green tab for being chatty, humiliating me in front of my classmates. The lesson ..showing kindness and human decency matter more than any lessons tought from a book.
    Reply
  28. Mary K
    My son just started his very first day of school today. We're looking forward to lots of great things to come!
    Reply
  29. Rebecca
    One day while dropping off our then 3-year-old at her home-based Waldorf School in RI, Twig, we walked up at one of the teachers was building a play structure. I asked, with little one beside me: "Oh, Rob, what is that a boat?" To which he graciously and wisely said: "...or a rocket, or a bus, or a tree..." I smiled deeply and as we walked off to the swings my little one said: "Wow, mami, isn't that neat. I get to play with a rocket-tree-boat...and who knows what it will be tomorrow!" A beautiful moment indeed!
    Reply
  30. Megan
    As homeschoolers, it is such a joy to see the older children eagerly and spontaneously teaching the younger ones. It's a win-win for everyone!
    Reply
  31. Sophie
    I decided to study economics thanks to my high school teacher, Mr. Levering. He animated each lecture on a subject that many people find boring. His most memorable lecture was when he described the federal bank printing money like blood gushing out of someone's chest in the Gladiator movie.
    Reply
  32. Veronica
    8th grade home room teacher Mr. Garland had a sign "it's my way or the highway." If we misbehaved he would pop his fake eye out and let it roll on his desk. Then he'd put it in his mouth and pop it back in his eye. Portland Christian Elementary
    Reply
  33. Jessiqa M
    Our twins just started kindergarten last week at Pleasant View. At the end of her first day, the first words out of our daughter's mouth were "it was AWESOME!" May her enthusiasm for learning never fade.
    Reply
  34. Jenn H
    We homeschool and my son is so so proud of himself for memorizing the alphabet! (he's 3) and he happily sings it for everyone and anyone! He loves being read to and is so excited that he knows what the letters are. It makes me so proud of him to see him grow and love learning!
    Reply
  35. Laura C.
    My daughter Ella went to Woodhaven School's outdoor kindergarten in Portland. One day after class while we were stripping off muddy layers and preparing to leave, she told me that she loved school. When I asked her what she loved she said, "When I'm outside, the part of me that whispers is louder, and I can hear who I am inside."

    She's entering third grade this year and I still think about the universal truth of that statement often.
    Reply
  36. Sarah Q
    As a TA at UIdaho, I am both teacher and student—as it should be always. While walking with a student, I told her in high school I memorized vocabulary minutes before the quiz I then aced, though I failed to “learn” the words. I immediately stopped giving vocabulary quizzes.
    Reply
  37. Nicole A.
    My most memorable learning experience, oddly enough, was in 8th grade math class. I’m not particularly good at math, nor do I really enjoy it. But I remember working on a problem and asking my teacher for help. I cannot recall what he said, but finally the “lightbulb” went off, and I understood how to solve the problem. That was the first time I had really experienced the “lightbulb” going off effect. It was my first real epiphany!

    As for my son (he’s homeschooled), there are so many memorable learning experiences--every day is full of them! Most recently, we’ve been encouraging him to play instruments, as he loves watching and listening to them. He has a little clarinet, but when he first got it, he couldn’t figure out the correct way to blow into it. For weeks he refused to play it, and just wanted Mom and Dad to. My husband found him a recorder, which is easier to play, and much to my son’s delight, he was able to play it. The next day, after playing his recorder, he realized he could probably play his clarinet, too. He gave it a blow, and his face lit up as he finally made a note!
    Reply
  38. Valentine H
    There are so many wonderful moments from the past 2 years of homeschooling my little ones. Introducing them to the wonders of nature, including watching a dragonfly larva hatch out of its exoskeleton, dry out, then fly off, learning to read, building fairy houses, making stories, creating art masterpieces, and so many more magical moments!
    Reply
  39. Teri R.  The Montessori School of Camden
    Teri R. The Montessori School of Camden
    At open house, teachers greeted them cheerfully, then went to the turtle aquarium to teach them a fun song about the turtle! Sing it again they squealed, they joined in, the song ended with the turtle having a big bubble in his mouth that POPPED! Sang all the way home!
    Reply
  40. Amy J
    We home school. So far my best moments have been seeing the success of my children as one by one they have left my home to go off to their different colleges. What's even best is that even though I have 4 in college now, I still have one at home that I can introduce to reading and math and the world around her.
    Reply
  41. Pete S
    My interest in the 'barefoot movement' was sparked towards the end of my homeschooling and instead of studying for my final exams I would often find myself procrastinating by reading articles and learning about the benefits of being barefoot. Time well spent I say! ;)
    Reply
  42. Elizabeth S
    My son is only 2 but the first words he could "read" were.... Dr. Seuss :) We'll start working on phonics soon so he can actually learn to read.
    Reply
  43. Laura Swain
    When I taught 2nd grade at Normandy Elementary I was fortunate to receive gifts from my students. One boy brought me an apple-shaped bottle of hand sanitizer for the class on the first day of school. I put the bottle on our front shelf and we headed out to recess. When they were finished all 120 second graders got in their lines to head back into the school...but a raucous bark caught our attention. An enormous black lab bounded around the fence partition and headed straight for the sea of little people. They were terrified; he was as big as they were! He excitedly greeted my class with licks and nudges. I managed to grab him by the collar and instantly regretted my decision...he smelled like he'd been rolling in excrement or other alluring things in the nearby woods. The other teachers began to hurriedly usher the students in the door. As I radioed the office staff to let them know about our situation I lost my grip and the dog leapt up the steps, following the students inside. I raced after him and heard myself yelling "stop that dog!" Three teachers were talking in the hallway and looked up, mouths open. One came to her senses and joined in the chase while another went to my classroom to watch my kids. We careened around a corner and my running buddy glanced over at me. "What on EARTH is that smell?" "Dead deer," I huffed and tried to pick up the pace. We reached the end of the hall just in time to see doggie escape through a propped open door. Later that day I found out from our school secretary that he had jumped into our PTO president's open van in the parking lot. I walked back only to find my room abuzz with befuddled kids who were trying to get their hands "unstuck." They had used the brand new "hand sanitizer" and were rubbing their hands with paper towels trying to get the scum off that was a combo of dog dirt and what turned out to be hand soap, not hand sanitizer. "Well, let me show you where our bathroom is," I announced as we all headed down the hall, chuckling about the wackiest first day ever and smelling like a cross between country apple and country roadkill.
    Reply
  44. Laura S
    Sorry about my previous entry, I didn't notice the word limit!

    On the first day of teaching 2nd grade I found myself frantically chasing an enormous, smelly black lab through our building. When my class cleaned their hands afterward, they used soap instead of sanitizer. The room of sticky, smelly 7yo had one unbelievable story to share with their parents!
    Reply
  45. Megan
    My daughter didn't attend preschool and I was really second guessing myself as I sent her to kinder. About a month in I got to volunteer in her class and it was beautiful to see how well she had adapted. She was delighted that I was there but was independent enough to do her own thing. It made my heart soar to see her thriving!
    Reply
  46. Nicole Y.
    My boy Casey, he's two and a half.
    When we visited Waldorf we had a good laugh.
    The other preschools he was afraid to go
    But Waldorf's for him, he told me so.
    That night after seeing it and ironing a pillow,
    He told me he would go alone as one happy fellow.
    He said "it feels like home to me"
    And home's a happy place to be!
    Reply
  47. Martha
    My daughter didn't play with anyone at recess for the first few months of school and it worried me. It was pretty amazing and comforting when she came home one day talking about a girl who just moved to our town and joined her class. She was so happy! The teacher told me they were very cute friends and that they made a good match.
    Reply
  48. Jess
    My unschooled daughter (age 3 3/4, she'd proudly tell you) is determined to play Amazing Grace on the piano and spends time every day reading color-coded music notes and playing the matching keys while singing along, all on her own with no lessons and no pushing from her parents.
    Reply
  49. Katrina F
    MacArthur Elementary School
    My three kids just started school at a new school this year. We moved across country with the military for the 5th time and they never flinched. They were so excited at the possibility of new friends and new teachers. I admire their spirit, courage, and perseverance to move every 1-2 years with us. Our family is blessed to see much of what our country has to offer in its lands and its cultures and our kids make so many friends along the way. I can't wait to see what the future holds for them!
    Reply
  50. Genevieve Woods
    My older son loves art, my younger son loves running. One day at our Wild Roots forest school the teacher put out different shaped crayons. My young son saw the rectangular crayons, picked them up, and started coloring sticks; beautiful sticks. I have two artists in the family.
    Reply
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