Kradwell School offers these tips for making a smooth transition from summer vacation to new school year.
One of the best ideas is to keep a child’s mind sharp when not in school. Use the summer to read, access a local library, engage in a science project at home or visit a museum for a fun history lesson.
Similarly, kids who don’t write during the summer have to relearn to write (and spell) when school starts. Practice handwriting and spelling. Correct the spelling and ask for neat handwriting Here are a few ideas:
- Have them write a few sentences about what they’ve done that day or week.
- Write letters to friends or relatives
- Encourage kids to write thank you notes
- Teach your child how to write and send an email message
- Create a family newsletter or blog
- Suggest your child keep a journal
Before your child starts kindergarten, it would be GREAT if they could write their name correctly, know their numbers to 20, say the alphabet (and letter sounds), and know basic shapes and colors.
Find out about your child’s school. Whether your child is returning to the same school or starting at a new one, it’s always a good idea to be aware of any changes at the school. Is there a new principal? What’s going on with the curriculum?
Whether you attend an “open house” or schedule a one-on-one conference, you should meet with your child’s teachers. By talking with your child’s teachers and/or going to the Department of Education Web site for your state, you can also find out key benchmarks on the academic calendar, such as which tests are administered and when. The teacher may also be able to provide you with a copy of a lesson plan or syllabus that gives you an idea of what will be taught in class.
You should also tour of the building-be aware of all the facilities your child may come into contact with. And don’t forget the guidance counselor. That person will be another key ally for you and your child. Guidance counselors have access to all of your child’s academic records. They also have knowledge of programs to help your child in and out of school. They’re also trained to provide basic counseling services to your child if he is having problems in school.
Get your child into the back-to-school routine. During the summer, staying up late and sleeping in are the norm. But as the start of school draws near, children need to get back into a routine.
About three weeks before school starts, have your child go to bed 15 minutes earlier at night and get up 15 minutes earlier in the morning. When school is two weeks away, have your child go to bed 30 minutes earlier at night and get up thirty minutes earlier in the morning. When your child is about to start school in a week, have him go to bed an hour earlier at night and get up an hour earlier in the morning.
By developing a bedtime routine, your child will be less resistant to the early morning wake-up calls to get ready for school. In addition, you can prepare the evening before for morning routines surrounding starting school each year.
Select clothing, including shoes and socks, and have them laid out. Hair accessories, backpacks zipped and ready, lunches made or at least decisions about what will be in the lunch, and determining weather-appropriate attire helps to minimize morning madness. Having a set place for backpacks minimizes lost homework or missing items in the harried morning routine.
Make sure your child gets enough sleep. Sleep experts from the National Sleep Foundation say that kids need their rest to perform well at school. Follow their practical tips for setting your kids’ back-to-school sleep clocks at least two weeks before the school year begins.Pre-school and school-age children should receive 10-11 hours of sleep each night. Establish those bedtime requirements, and then stick to it.
Organize your family’s time. As appointments and daily schedules for the year form, take note of them and write them down. Use a large calendar to keep track of schedules and events or place a weekly schedule for each person on the refrigerator or other prominent place in your home. Make a habit of checking it twice a day – in the morning and at night. Teach this habit to all of your family members.
Buy and organize school supplies. Depending on your child’s grade level (K0-12), the type of supplies needed will vary. Some schools send a list out a couple of weeks before the school year. If no such list is provided, many stores provide free school supply lists for their customers. They’re pretty concise and arranged by grade level. Be prepared to have to go out and purchase something else the night of the first day of school. There is always one teacher who requires a certain supply but doesn’t let their students know until the first day of school.
Set goals and expectations. The start of the school year is a wonderful time to re-examine school performance – both academically and extra curricular activities. Remember to set doable goals and try not to over stress your teenager. Be sure to set the time for homework-establish a learning schedule, including parameters for homework.
Setting aside a designated period of time after school or in the early evening that is to be used only for schoolwork is a strategy that has been proven effective for many students. There are several factors that can influence the decision about which time is best. Some children, for example, may complete homework more successfully by beginning immediately after school, leaving the rest of the late afternoon and evening for other activities. Others may need time to “wind down” after being in school all day before they’re relaxed and focused enough to complete homework successfully.
Emphasize the positive. Kids pick up on your attitude. If you complain about shopping for back-to-school clothes and supplies, they’ll pick up on it. If you speak negatively about your child’s teacher, they will start the year thinking negatively about him or her. Instead, identify what excites your child and focus on that. Talk to each other about the school year coming up and reaffirm with your child that you are there to help whenever help is needed-be sure to tell your child this and don’t assume they already know. It is easier to handle stress from outside sources – like school – when you know someone is on your side.
Don’t wear them out! Kids who are signed up for five different summer camps, tutoring, piano lessons, and ballet will never get the ‘break’ that comes with summer break! Give them downtime. Let them play. Let them sit around and say ‘I’m bored’ every once in a while. This advice should also be applied year-round. Limit our kids to 1-2 extracurricular activities at a time during the school year. As they get older, maybe they’ll show that they can handle more or less than that. Let your child know that school is their main priority and biggest responsibility.
Kradwell School is a private, nontraditional, nonsectarian fifth through twelfth grade Program. Kradwell School is dedicated to providing a child-centered, flexible, educational environment that meets the diverse academic, emotional and social needs of students.
Fall enrollment is now underway (2012-2013).Contact Leslie Newman 414-395-8125 or mail firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a visit to Kradwell School. Openings are available in both the middle and high school programs. For more details about Kradwell School, enrollment information and a video tour of Kradwell school, visit www.kradwell.org.