The beginning of the school year is always a time of mixed emotions for all students, but particularly for those in the younger years of primary school. It is completely reasonable for students to be excited but also feel slightly uncertain about the unknown.
During this time of transition, parents play a key role in partnering with teachers to help ensure the start of the school year sets a positive platform for learning for the remainder of the year.
While every student is unique, the following tips might prove helpful in navigating this exciting journey:
- Enjoy the holidays before school starts. The school year, and particularly the beginning of it, is an intense time for young people. They will be tired, both mentally and physically. They will face a variety of new challenges. Allowing young people the chance to enjoy their holiday experiences by spending time with family and friends creates informal learning opportunities and is the best platform for the year ahead.
- Focus on the positives. The best thing parents can do is to talk about how positive school is going to be and to encourage their children to focus on the positive outcomes from each day. When a child comes home from school, ask “What went well today?”. This simple question helps to focus on all of the good things that take place without overlooking the inevitable challenges they will face.
- Set up good routines. Children will get tired and getting things done at home at the end of a busy school day can often be challenging. Establishing and sticking to set routines for homework, reading, bath time, dinner time and (most importantly) bed time are essential. Young children definitely need their rest!
- Encourage friendships. One of the most valuable aspects of school life is socialising and feeling comfortable in a social setting. Parents can assist this process by encouraging new and existing friendships by arranging play dates and participating in the community life of the school as much as possible.
- Allow your child to take responsibility. It is essential that children are encouraged to take responsibility as early as possible. While helping your child by carrying their school bag or tying their shoe laces may seem like the ‘right’ thing to do, ultimately it can get in the way of their natural development and establishing their independence. Children can help by packing and unpacking their school bags at home each day and they should also be encouraged to take out what they need once they arrive at their classrooms.
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