To me, this labels the good kids versus the bad kids in a very public and humiliating manner. An S student is perfectly acceptable but clumped into the "bad kid" category for that event. The majority of the students are at the event, leaving those in the cafeteria very sullen.
I've expressed my concern for this unnecessary public humiliation. There is nothing to reward the kids who may have an S in conduct and all E's in their subjects. This seems old-fashioned, and I wonder what it's doing to our kids' self-esteem. Any advice?
Admittedly, standards often seem unfair when students only miss getting an award by a small amount. However, receiving the reward is wonderful and motivational for the students who earn it.
Keep in mind the importance of conduct. A disruptive child in the classroom will prevent the other students from learning. Is that fair? How about the student who misses an E in math by only one point but who has an E in conduct?
Since your child is only in first grade, you may need some help in understanding special events like the rewards picnic. There should be several people at the school who could give you a better perspective on the event. It is certainly not dividing the children into good and bad kids, but rewarding some for outstanding work. You need to talk to your child's teacher and other parents in the parent/teacher association.
Of course, schools are supposed to be places where students can build their self-esteem. However, do you think never giving rewards will build everyone's self-esteem? Ask any student about her reading group, and then ask if the other groups are higher or lower. The student knows the answer without the teacher ever saying a word.
Remember, your attitude will affect your first-grader's self-esteem. Don't discuss this around your child because it will cause even more harm. You need to learn what battles you should fight for your child and when to just let go.