There are many components to experiencing a successful school year beyond having the ‘right’ teacher and all of your child’s best friends in their class. A new school year provides a wonderful opportunity for new beginnings, and a fresh start in developing greater expertise with the development of curriculum concepts and skills. The new school year is also about learning how to meet new challenges, and the further development of social and interpersonal skills. Although it has been said that ‘90 percent of success in life is just showing up,’ the following are five key recommendations that teachers would ask parents to do to set the stage for success in the new school year:
1) Set up and equip a homework station before school begins with tools and materials their child will need when working on projects and assignments. Shopping and choosing new materials can be fun and gets a child off to a good start. This preparation can reduce a child’s frustration and eliminate time lost if there are sufficient pens, pencils, markers, crayons, rulers, and staplers at their fingertips. Idea: Consider including a little sand timer, a calendar, pads of paper, and a supply of Post‐it notes.
2) Lights out! The week prior to the first day of school, discuss and negotiate rules and timeframes for bedtime, lights out, and wake‐up time. Include your child in the decision making regarding lunch preparation, clothing for the next day, the amount of evening media permitted (computer and TV).
3) When planning extra‐curricular evening activities, a good rule of thumb is to select one activity for the week and to do this one well. With all good intentions, parents often schedule too many after school activities for their child. Please remember, like adults, children need time to destress and ‘to play’ after a challenging day at school. Teachers find that children who have busy evening schedules often arrive at school tired, and have difficulty focusing on their lessons.
4) Healthy Meals and Snacks provide the best ‘fuel’ for growing bodies. Empty foods which are genetically altered, sugar‐laden, and processed contain very little nutritional value. Feed your child’s mind with organic foods, and fresh vegetables and fruits. Have a variety of fresh veggies available in the fridge for fast, nutritious snacks for home and to pack in school lunch bags.
5) Organize the household for a restful night’s sleep. Set your child up for a good night’s sleep by encouraging your child to ‘disconnect’ from all electronics, including computers and TV watching an hour and a half before bedtime. In addition, a calm, harmonious home environment will help to ensure that your child will experience a restful and peaceful sleep.
When parents are proactive and organize their home for a successful start for each school day, your child’s teachers will also be more successful in their role as educators and in helping to guide their students to achieve to their very best potential. Children who approach each school day well prepared and rested are set for success. A supportive home environment provides a wonderful foundation for a child’s development, and enables children to develop greater self‐esteem and confidence when meeting the challenges that come their way.
Linda Sweet M.S. Ed.
Founder and Director, Glenburnie School
Pre‐School to Grade 8
Providing a progressive and innovative private school education