As educators, we are very sensitive to the emotions surrounding the beginning of the school year, ranging from uncontained excitement and anticipation, to fear and anxiety about the unfamiliar. For some, it is their first experience in a school setting; but even for those returning after the summer, the occasion is charged emotionally.
At school we are ready to welcome students and to support them as they adjust to the changes in their routine, and to the new relationships that await them. This time of discovery and new beginnings is such a wonderful one.
For parents, there are a number of ways to support children leading up to the first day of school. I recently read an article from David McMillan entitled, Relationships: Preparing kids emotionally for school. In it Mr. McMillan provides practical suggestions for supporting children, including the following:
- Lead by example. When your kids talk about the emotions they are feeling about going back to school, do more than just let them talk and express their emotions. Try to get them talking about specifics about what they’ve enjoyed most during the summer and what they’ll miss. It is especially important for them to talk about what they may be nervous about in the coming school year and what they’re looking forward to. I encourage parents to offer the same of themselves; talk to your kids about how you feel about the transition, how you remember feeling at their age, and what you did then and do now to get yourself mentally ready for the coming school year.
- Acknowledge mixed emotions. As the summer winds down and kids express disappointment or anxiety about the coming school year, it’s very easy to fall into the category of either “you don’t mean that! School is wonderful,” or “I’m dreading it, too.” It’s helpful to admit all sides of emotions — anxiety for the start of school, even though there may be parts they are really looking forward to, and missing the slower pace and summer fun.
- Offer support and reassurance. Children need specific support and reassurance during transitions. The start of school is a new year, full of possibility, but also full of unknowns. Children need reminders and reassurances they are going to be OK and they will have parental support no matter what. Even children who love school and do well can benefit from this type of assurance.
- Structure rules, expectations and consequences. Get clear with your children before the school year begins what your expectations are of them during the coming school year. Set a daily structure that can be followed throughout the school year that involves coming home, getting their homework, doing chores and daily rest.
- Consistency. Follow a schedule as much as possible. Consistency is reassuring and motivating, especially for younger children. Follow an early morning and bedtime routine.
To read Mr. McMillan’s full posting from the Shreveport Times, please follow click here.
I recently came across a blog post from George Couros, Division Principal for Parkland School Division in Alberta. The post was called, Why Are We Waiting for Tomorrow? Essentially, sharing the idea that children are not simply with us to be molded into ‘effective leaders’ someday. In fact, children can impact the world right here, right now.
This led me to reflect on the Reggio Emilia approach to learning, and the core of the philosophy, which is the Image of the Child. The Reggio philosophy views children as curious, competent, and capable. When children learn in a Reggio inspired environment, they are respected and act as co-constructors of their learning. They have a genuine voice.
To quote Mr. Couros:
Words matter. Our expectations matter. If a kid makes a difference today, aren’t they more likely to do it tomorrow as well? There is no need to wait.
If you would like to read Mr. Couros’s blog post, please click here.
If you would like to learn more about the Reggio Emilia philosophy, please visit:
It’s that time of year when we begin to prepare for back-to-school. Typically, that involves new shoes, a new back pack; and for someone like me, used to revolve around brand new Laurentian pencil crayons. In any case, there are the necessary back to school supplies that are required. It’s important, though, to consider preparing for back to school from a mindset perspective. This recent post written by Homa Tavangar, Award-winning author Growing Up Global: Raising Children to Be At Home in the World (Random House/Ballantine Books, 2009), can be found on www.edutopia.com. Ms. Tavangar’s piece resonated with us, and we believe you will find it insightful as well. The focus of this post is on empathy ~ and the invaluable role it plays in developing healthy attitudes and relationships.
Here is the link – we hope you enjoy it.
“Resilience isn’t a birthright. It can be taught.” Indeed, this article from PsychCentral stood out to us, because we know how essential resiliency is in learning. The article outlines 10 tips that are definitely worth the read. They include teaching them to problem solve, and providing them opportunities to take risks.
Summer is the ideal time to work on these skills as a family, and encourage your children to handle disappointment and uncertainty with confidence.
Another impressive post from Edutopia, which we thought was worth sharing with you on Inquiring Minds.“…the way we ask questions fosters students’ alternative and more complex representations of stories, events, and circumstances, and their ability to process the world in a wider range of ways, to create varying degrees of distance between themselves and the basic events in front of them, is a distinct advantage to learning.”
Indeed. Here is the link to Edutopia’s post – we hope you find it as interesting as we did.
It’s so hard to believe that the year of our expansion construction will soon be coming to a close. Looking around the campus now, every corner is in a state of upheaval; but we know that these are the final stages of the process, and will soon dissolve into our memories.We wanted to share these images with you, so that you too can see what we’re talking about. We’re sorry our students are missing all the incredible machines that have been working on site – they’re quite impressive!
- Finishing touches on the drywall
- Installation of the lights and ceiling panels
- Tiling of the bathrooms
- Placement of the internal windows
The excitement is building as everyone pulls together to meet our deadline – it really is ‘all go around here’ and we cannot wait to move in and welcome everyone back for September.Until then, enjoy the break and keep following our progress!