By Principal Justin Dye
1. Preparing for that first week awkwardness: Everyone’s a little nervous the first day or week, even teachers! We do “Meet the Teacher Night” the week before and that seems to help the majority of our students because they get to meet their teacher, see their room, and hopefully see some familiar faces. Having a friend or a sibling walk the nervous child to class the first week will help as well.
2. Get ahead, Stay ahead: Just like anything, if you don’t practice, you become less skilled, whatever the activity may be. This doesn’t mean kids need to be overloaded with activities. They can just practice certain skills that will help them as school starts again. This could mean keeping a journal and writing about their summer or helping buy groceries at the store. Many libraries provide prizes and incentives for children to read. Reading for just a few minutes a day can make a huge difference. By staying active, it allows the student to essentially stay ahead of the curve.
3. 5 P’s: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance: Throughout the summer many children do not have a routine so it’s important for parents to start building one before school starts to help make the transition less difficult. Children may be used to sleeping in or staying up late, so if parents start a routine before classes begin the first week of school will be more positive for everyone. Establishing a bed time routine and having students wake up earlier a couple of weeks before school starts will help, as well. Instead of TV or video games before bed, parents can have children read or practice another educational skill. Establishing a routine allows the student to practice effective time management stills.
4. Positive communication before school starts – Positive communication at the beginning of the day sets the tine for the rest of the day. It is extremely important for the teachers and the parent to be on the same page from day one. As I stated in question number one, we host a meet the teacher night the Friday BEFORE school starts. This allows for the parents to bring in the supply lists, shows the students (especially the little ones) where their classroom is, and familiarize the entire family with the teacher. Our teachers usually have a fun activity to help reduce the stress many students might be experiencing. This also gives the adults time to talk and open up the lines of school-parent communication that are so critical to a students success. We also use Class Dojo to stay connected with the parents. This on top of weekly newsletters helps bridge the gap between home and school, after all we are a team! This “pre-school” communication will certainly pay dividends throughout the year.
5. It is also extremely important for parents to show interest in their child’s schooling. This can, and should be started from the first day of school. Ask your son/daughter what they did in class. The key is to really listen and reflect with them though. Ask questions, be excited you children will see this excitement and really open up. We have several parents who have a routine of asking their children three questions everyday; 1. Name your favorite thing you did today? 2. Name one thing you learned today? and 3. Name one thing you want to improve on tomorrow? Asking simple questions like these helps show the students how important their education really is. Try and spend 10-15 minutes talking about each day, trust me the TV will be still be there when your done!