Preparing for a new school year requires lots of planning. As we enter the last few weeks of summer, it is important to help children transition back to school. Often we hear about getting back to regular routines and bedtimes, and these are very important tips, but we also wanted to share a few other ideas and why they are important.
- Attend Playground Playdates – Children are often apprehensive about re-engaging with their peers. Will they remember me? and other similar questions can make a child worry about returning to the classroom. Reconnecting in a casual setting reminds them of all the people they haven’t seen and often energizes children to get back to school to see their friends. As adults, think about re-entering an environment you haven’t been in for months, it might feel odd but when you do it knowing you have a solid peer group and you have just seen them, it makes it much easier.
- Purchase School Supplies – Whether you are ordering online or shopping in a store, include your child in the process. This is an opportunity to begin talking about school, to talk about what the materials might be used for, and to generate excitement for the new learning that is ahead of them.
- Complete Summer Work – Sooner rather than later – Children feel more comfortable when they are prepared. Knowing they have what is expected from them (a completed bingo board or project), can ease any anxious feelings… and in contrast, walking into a classroom where others have completed assignments can make the transition much harder. Summer Work is meant to be a way to help students stay connected to learning. Please do not wait until the end of summer as this can make children feel less than positive about school work (which is the exact opposite of how we want them to start the school year).
- “Meet the Teacher” – Come even if you know your teacher. Being away from the classroom and your teacher for months can feel like forever to children. They need to know that the classroom is still in the same place or that that the teacher is still the same warm, friendly face. Yes, they have already met but these small moments to reconnect are important.
- Email your teacher – Feel free to reach out and begin to build an open relationship. Teachers want what is best for your child (even when they don’t know them yet) and any information you can share is helpful. If they have any apprehensions or are excited about something in particular, tell your child’s teacher so they can build off it from the very start.
Overall, the more we can talk about school, engage with the school community, and prepare children for entering the classroom, the stronger their first few days will be… and great beginnings can lead to great middles and great endings!