Planning for a top year at school

By Greg Whitby, 29 January 2020
Greg Whitby AM is Executive Director of Schools, Diocese of Parramatta.


Weekly Column from the Executive Director of Schools, Diocese of Parramatta

The back to school period can be pretty full on, and not just for kids! Parents and carers: why not use this time to teach children some life skills that’ll be useful throughout the year and forever?

Talk to your kids about the steps you take to prepare for a challenge. What are their goals for the 2020 school year? Even young students need to have a reason to show up.

If they’re big enough to get a school diary, sit down with them and share what you’ve got coming up too. You’re teaching them time management skills and helping them to plan ahead. It doesn’t hurt to let them know that you’ve got plenty on as well.

Buy them a big coloured piece of cardboard and help them to come up with a routine. How do they think they can get 100% ready for school by a certain time every day? It’s up to them to make it work or come up with a better way. Let them own it!

Even if you think your child isn’t up to making his or her own lunch, give them a chance. Set some boundaries about what should go in a healthy lunchbox, involve them in shopping for supplies and share your sandwich making expertise. It’s hard to complain about your lunch when you made it yourself!

Help them see the work that goes into being ready. If you’re shining their shoes while they sleep, they may not be appreciating what you’re doing for them and they’re definitely not learning how to do it themselves.

Try to think of the beginning of the school year as a teachable moment and give your kids a chance to step up. And if you need a couple of extra tips for a smooth start to the year: treat the school office staff like the royalty they are and having an orange t-shirt ready for Harmony Day in March (or any other likely themed mufti days) can be handy!

Greg Whitby AM
Executive Director of Schools – Diocese of Parramatta


Greg Whitby is the Executive Director of Schools - Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta
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