This is the time of year when families are typically saturated with “Back to School” specials connected to school bags, uniforms, lunch boxes and stationery. These specials are seen and heard everywhere ranging from television, radio, billboards and some social media platforms. This school supplies buying frenzy can also be a trigger to students indicating their holidays are fast disappearing and that the ring of the school bell is not too far away.
The commencement of the school year can be really exciting for some students, but also a time of anxiousness for others. This is not unusual. Some students may have been most satisfied with their 2022 academic year, whilst others may have felt they struggled or could have achieved more learning growth. There are also students that are starting at a new school. This can bring a great sense of eagerness, but also apprehension. No matter the case, it is important for families to plan for a wonderful start to the school year.
The following ideas provide some hints which may assist and support parents/carers for a positive commencement to the school year.
Wake up your child at a regular early time
A few days before school commences, it may be useful to wake up your child at an earlier regular time, so that they get used to a routine of getting up and being ready to go somewhere. This will greatly assist the momentum of developing effective routines in the mornings.
Encourage your child to read every evening before going to sleep. Reading material may include something of interest to them such as a book, comics, magazines or newspapers.
Set goals for 2023
Students setting goals for the school year is a good thing. It can provide reflection and focus for the academic year ahead. It is recommended that families discuss possible goals and strategies with children before they are finalised. A good tip is for the goals to be visually present wherever the student undertakes their study like a study desk etc.
School supplies shopping
A successful and smooth start for any student must include having the correct uniform and stationery items. It is important that families know what their child needs and is prepared with relevant items before Term 1 commences.
Talk to your child
Communication with your child is paramount during this time. It may be beneficial for families to find an opportunity to discuss the back-to-school phenomenon and seek to understand how their child is feeling. It is a good idea to be positive and to elicit from the child aspects of school they are looking forward to and possible concerns they may be experiencing.
If your child is starting at a new school, take a drive past the school. Talking about the school and browsing the school website may be helpful in increasing the familiarity of the new learning community. In a Catholic school context, it is also worthwhile for families to discuss with their child that there will be a myriad of opportunities for them to practice and live their faith. This may include Masses, reflection days, retreats, service learning and religious education classes.
Every child is unique and special. As an African proverb highlights – “it takes a village to raise a child”. Parents and carers know their child best. Teachers are wonderful at building relationships with their kids and nurturing them to flourish. Collaborating together – home and school – our children are well placed to have a happy, joyful and smooth commencement to 2023.
Frank Chiment is the Principal Leader at Patrician Brothers’ College, Blacktown.