AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - This holiday season, many students are entering their classroom with a magical surprise.
Typically wrapped in a gift box, the Elf on a Shelf brings a note and book from the north pole.
“The story in the book is that the elf watches the children and reports back to Santa," said Public Relations Coordinator for Amarillo Public Library Stacy Clopton Yates. "And kids are told not to touch the elf, not to interact with the elf, and the elf moves at night so the kids can find the elf the next day.”
Elementary schools incorporate the Elf on a Shelf into the curriculum to excite the children about learning.
“Usually they are very excited, first of all they talked about the book and then were using the elf also just to extend other learning that’s going on in the classroom,” said Principal at Willow Vista Early Childhood Academy Dana Bolin.
Although this tradition is used at home, classrooms across the United States adopted it to increase student engagement, behaviors and holiday spirit.
“The concept of, ‘Oh you know they are looking at us, they are holding us accountable, they are watching us for our behavior,’" said Texas Licensed Professional Counselor Sunny Alexander, MA LPC. "So I think, especially from a childlike state, that someone else is holding them accountable and it gives them a reminder.”
Students become more aware of their behavior because they want the elf to give Santa a good report at the end of the day. Teachers say ultimately, it increases self-awareness and positive choices.
“They are going to go home, they are going to talk to their parents about their day and then it can also be tied to them learning more about how their controlling their body. And that’s a big responsibility that sometimes young children don’t even talk about at home,” said Bolin.
The Elf on the Shelf is a playful tool local teachers hope will encourage their students to stay on Santa’s nice list this holiday season.