The calendar year may change in January, but teachers, students, and parents know that the best time for a fresh start is in September.
This month offers each of us a blank page, a chance to choose a new direction in our relationships with school and learning. Many of our RRLS students counted down the “sleeps” before getting back to best friends, favourite teachers, and exciting extra-curricular activities. For some students, however, the first month of school causes more anxiety than enthusiasm. Kids who haven’t felt successful in school in the past may dread the transition from their free-as-a-bird, summertime selves.
In the midst of settling back into the September routine, take some time to think about how best to support your child through this important transition.
Be an advocate.
Being a strong advocate for your children means knowing what they are entitled to, and making sure they get it. Every child is entitled to an excellent education. This means that regardless of any struggles your child may face academically, behaviourally, or socially, it is the school’s job to create an environment where he or she can learn. For example, if you’re aware that your son struggles with attention and focus, speak to his teacher early on about how he or she intends to accommodate those issues in the classroom. Share successful strategies you use at home and ask for help developing a plan to support your son. These conversations can be tricky, but it’s important to remember that you are all on the same team: your child’s. Remember that we’re always here to back you up! Your RRLS Learning Specialist will be happy to contact your child’s classroom teacher directly and share tools and ideas. Starting the school year with a solid plan in place will ensure that no time is wasted and that your child receives the best education possible.
Set your child up for success.
Talk to your child and listen to his or her concerns about school. Explain that you want to help make this school year different. Work together to make a list of explicit goals for the year. How will you achieve them? How will your child be rewarded for his or her hard work? Consider using charts or checklists to support your child as he or she works toward achieving his or her goals. There are some excellent examples and templates available at http://www.freeprintablebehaviorcharts.com/.
Share in the excitement.
Find out the things your child is enjoying this school year (even if it’s just recess) and share the excitement. Which friends were they excited to see again? Can they plan a playdate together? What kinds of pictures is your daughter painting in art class? Can she try these new techniques at home? Do whatever you can to encourage your child’s positive associations with school. Consider having a special back-to-school party in September. Your child is a whole year older, and a whole year further ahead in his or her education. That’s worth celebrating!
For more information about how to start this school year off right, please contact Ruth Rumack’s Learning Space at 416.925.1225 or visit http://www.ruthrumack.com.