School starts Aug. 26. Goodbye, summer and hello, school — and it’s not too soon to start getting students back into school mode. First days can be exciting and/or anxious, especially for students who will be entering kindergarten, middle or high school for the first time. These students will encounter new expectations, and new faces will surround them. Families can help their students begin the school year with confidence. Visit the school website, review materials sent by the school as soon as it arrives, show your student where the bus stop is, talk about new expectations and meeting new classmates and acknowledge any fears for the upcoming school year. Attend the school’s open house.
Here are some other tips for success:
- Practice letters and numbers. Students will be introduced to the letters of the alphabet and numbers. They will learn how to form the shapes of letters, what sounds they make and how to combine them to create words. Students will also learn basic counting from one to 10 and what the numbers represent.
- Practice the routine. Set the alarm as if it’s a school day. Get your child up and dressed, and drive to the school a few times before the first day. Show your child where he or she will get dropped off in the mornings and picked up in the afternoons.
- Encourage independence. Children should be able to do certain things for themselves when entering kindergarten. Taking their jackets on and off, packing up their belongings, cleaning up supplies, following directions and using the restroom are a few things students should be able to do on their own.
- Set morning and bedtime routines. Begin new schedules gradually by changing bed times and wake times in the weeks leading up to the first day of school.
- Validate children’s concerns. They may be scared or worried but let them know their feelings are normal and reassure them. Acknowledge your child’s fears and focus on positive aspects of getting back to school.
- Emphasize the positive aspects. Students will have an opportunity to learn more about what interests them such as foreign languages, more advanced courses, health and life skills. A variety of new teams, clubs and activities may be offered as well. It all provides ways to make new friends.
- Class schedules will be different. New routines can be confusing at first. Some students will have experienced class changes in fourth or fifth grade but others haven’t. If your children have trouble finding something or keeping track of where they should be, remind them to ask teachers, counselors or other school staff for help.
- Learn about school rules. Before the first day, know the policies such as dress codes and cell phone use. This will help your child comply with the rules.
- Get involved. Contrary to what your pre-teen may say, your involvement is still important. Middle school is a great time to stay involved with your child’s education.
- Get to know the school counselor. The counselor is able to provide resources to help you and your child navigate through the middle school years. This will also be important for high school.
- Attend freshman orientation. Orientation is helpful because students will learn their way around the building and meet some of their teachers. Students will also meet other freshman and can begin to make friends.
- Become connected. Find out what sports, clubs or after-school activities the school offers and help your child to participate.
- Make sure your student gets a good night’s sleep. Teens need to be rested when they go to school.
- Help set priorities. The expectations and responsibilities of high school will be different from those of middle school. A counselor will help put together a schedule that includes the core courses and electives that match your student’s goals. Parents are instrumental in helping balance and prioritize academics and social and family life.
- Organization is key. To ease morning chaos, have your child spend time each evening making sure everything is packed and ready to go for the next morning. You may even want to designate a space for school equipment, clothing and materials.
Have a great 2019-2020 school year!