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Back to School & Enrollment Info

Back to School & Enrollment Info



Parent Tips > Education, Schools & Tutors > Back to School & Enrollment Info

Enrollment Tips

  • Have you registered with your school?
  • Have you gotten all of your immunization shots?
  • If your child is entering Kindergarten, have you scheduled an assessment with the school.
  • Have you found out when the school will be having an orientation or open house?
  • Do you have the information on doing an district transfer to another school?

Back to School Tips

Submitted By: Excerpts from the American Academy of Pediatrics

MAKING THE FIRST DAY EASIER

  • Remind your child that she is not the only student who is a bit uneasy about the first day of school.
  • Point out the positive aspects of starting school: It will be fun. She'll see old friends and meet new ones. Refresh her memory about previous years, when she may have returned home after the first day with high spirits because she had a good time.

BACKPACK SAFETY

  • Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
  • Avoid clothing, backpacks & bookbags wi th your child's name prominently written on it; a child is less likely to fear someone who knows their name.

DEVELOPING GOOD HOMEWORK AND STUDY HABITS

  • Create an environment that is conducive to doing homework. Youngsters need a permanent work space in their bedroom or another part of the home that offers privacy.
  • Set aside ample time for homework.
  • Establish a household rule that the TV set stays off during homework time.
  • Be available to answer questions and offer assistance, but never do a child's homework for her.
  • To help alleviate eye fatigue, neck fatigue and brain fatigue while studying, it's recommended that youngsters close the books for 10 minutes every hour and go do something else.
  • If your child is struggling with a particular subject, and you aren't able to help her yourself, a tutor can be a good solution. Talk it over with your child's teacher first.


STRANGER SAFETY

  • Teach your kids if they are being followed not to stop! They should keep walking or begin running to put as much distance as possible between them and the person following them.
  • Kids are at a disadvantage because of their size. However, a fighting child is much harder to overpower then one who is frozen with fear. Teach your child to yell NO, over and over again. Kick, scream, bite, scratch and yell! "This is when all they've been taught about being polite goes out the window," states Officer Tellez. You can practice grabbing your child from behind or around the chest and show them ways to fight a person off.
  • If your child rides a bike, teach her never to let go of it if she were grabbed. It is much more difficult to carry off a child holding a bike them it is to carry off just a child.
  • Go beyond the "don't talk to strangers" speech. Explain what a stranger actually is. It is not a scary guy with a beard and dark glasses in a trench coat. Seventy-five percent of child abductors/molesters are acquaintances of the child. The remaining 25% have worked at gaining the child's trust first. Teach your kids that anyone who comes to pick them up other than you should not be trusted unless you have informed them of the change. Come up with a password that only you, your spouse and your child know. Anyone your child leaves with should know this password. Passwords can be something as simple as "Cookie Monster loves cookies."

BULLYING

  • Bullying is when one child picks on another child repeatedly. Usually children being bullied are either weaker or smaller, shy, and generally feel helpless. Bullying can be physical, verbal, or social. It can happen at school, on the playground, on the school bus, in the neighborhood, or over the Internet.
  • When Your Child Is Bullied:
    Help your child learn how to respond by teaching your child how to:
    Look the bully in the eye.
    Stand tall and stay calm in a difficult situation.
    Walk away.
    Teach your child how to say in a firm voice:
    "I don't like what you are doing."
    "Please do NOT talk to me like that."
    "Why would you say that?"
    Teach your child when and how to ask for help.
    Encourage your child to make friends with other children.
    Support activities that interest your child.
    Alert school officials to the problems and work with them on solutions.
    Make sure an adult who knows about the bullying can watch out for your child's safety and well-being when you cannot be there.
  • When Your Child Is the Bully
    Be sure your child knows that bullying is never OK.
    Set firm and consistent limits on your child's aggressive behavior.
    Be a positive role mode. Show children they can get what they want without teasing, threatening or hurting someone.
    Use effective, non-physical discipline, such as loss of privileges.
    Develop practical solutions with the school principal, teachers, counselors, and parents of the children your child has bullied.
  • When Your Child Is a Bystander
    Tell your child not to cheer on or even quietly watch bullying.
    Encourage your child to tell a trusted adult about the bullying.
    Help your child support other children who may be bullied. Encourage your child to include these children in activities.
    Encourage your child to join with others in telling bullies to stop.

Parenting Tools for Back-to-School

Sometimes the start of school can be overwhelming for both kids and parents. Once Summer ends, it is back to the hectic pace of racing the clock to get to school on time, setting up carpools, homework deadlines and more. Below are a few ideas from parents on how to prepare your child and get your household ready...

 

Getting Organized:

 

  • Set up in advance a homework station or school supplies area in a corner of your house or kitchen. Use containers such as small baskets for crayons, pencilcases for pens, markers and colored pencils. Then store these along with extra paper, a dictionary, and any other school supplies all together inone place. When its homework time, you can avoid searching for whats needed, and the children can get started without any excuse for delay ontheir daily homework.
  • Prepare a place for storing the papers and correspondence that comes home in your child's backpack. There may be notices from the teacher, permission slips to be signed, announcements of special dates or events, volunteer sign-ups, someof which needs to be returned to the school, or put on the calendar. By using a basket or folder as a designated place to store these papers you can avoid last minute searches.
  • Give each of your kids a drawer or box for them to put their school papers and homework each day when they get home from school. This makes it easier for parents to go through their things and locate school forms that may need to be signed, etc. Parents should sort through this once a week and file important papers and throw away things they don't need.
  • Put together a family calendar and keep it visible with everyones day to day activities and appointments.

Getting to School On Time: 

  • Allow at least five minutes to load everyone and everything into the car. If it takes 15 minutes to get to where you're going, get going 20 minutes prior to allow for the five minutes of loading.
  • Put backpacks and homework in the car the night before so there is less to do in the morning.
  • Pack lunches at night.
  • Help kids lay their clothes out the night before.

Before School Starts:

  • Make sure you have registered for school.
  • Visit the doctor for all your immunization shots.
  • Do your back to school shopping for: lunch boxes, school supplies, backpacks, clothes...
  • Set-up carpool arrangements if it is an option.
  • Look into afterschool programs through your school.
  • Start getting back into a routine:  Go over your expectations with your child (bedtime, amount of tv allowed, homework time each day, morning routine etc). Talk to your child about what their schedule will be like when school starts. Have your child take initiative with getting ready in the morning.

Researching and Choosing the Right School

Submitted By: Parmalee

No matter what level, preschool to college, choosing a school for your child can be a daunting task. Parents have so many questions that often go unanswered.  Is it necessary to put your unborn child on a waiting list if you want to get them into a good preschool? Is it necessary to start prepping your child to get into a good college while they are still in elementary school? Which middle or high school is right for your child?

 

For every family, there are different expectations, different pressures and different answers, but the key to finding the answer that is right for your child and your family is to educate yourself, know what to look for and know what to ask. Below are some tips and questionnaires on how to go about finding the right school for your child and the questions to ask the directors.  If you don't yet live in Santa Cruz County but are looking to move here, visit our links to different school districts in the county.

Here are some tips....
1. Know Your Options. Public, charter, parochial, private or home school, emphasis on arts, music, sciences? Which suits your child's needs?

2. Know Your Child. Think about the learning environment that your child works best in as well as their learning style. Do they need more or less structure? Does your child need challenging academics, or extra help? Does your child have any special needs, academically, behaviorally or physically? If your child has a learning disability, is gifted, autistic, or has other special need there are schools that offer specific programs. Take into account your child's learning style as well. You can have your child tested if you wish to find out how your child learns best (auditory, tactile, or visual). Sometimes it can be a simple matter of self-reflection. Is your child a lot like you? How do you learn best? If your child is a lot like you, more than likely they will have a similar learning style. Knowing your child's strengths and weaknesses can also help in determining which school is best. You want to choose a school that will build upon your child's strengths and help overcome your child's weaknesses.


3. Research the Schools. Research the schools you're considering ahead of time. Here are a few highlights:
• Curriculum: You should take a look at the curriculum that the school offers to its students. Does it have an integrated program for those core subjects like literature, grammar, spelling, composition, geography, history, math, and science? What enrichment classes are offered in addition: art, music, chess, French, Spanish, Latin, theater.
• Philosophy: Schools have specific teaching philosophies. Learn more about the philosophies of the schools you're interested in. A school's philosophy is all about the approach used for teaching and learning. Does a school involve students in group projects? What about testing and homework policies? How does the school ensure that each child is learning? When you have information you can decide if your child will benefit from that approach. Children generally do well in a school when a family's expectations and beliefs correlate with those of a school. Don't be afraid to ask tough questions. Schools want a good fit too.
• Location: Obviously, geographical location and age of children are important factors. Figure out how far away or close you want the school to be to your home. You should also take into account the fact that your child's neighborhood friends will likely go to schools nearby. Attending the same schools as neighborhood friends is low on the totem pole of importance if you have other more pressing requirements.
• School & Class Size: A school's size should be appropriate for your child's personality. Larger campuses can be intimidating to some children or exhilarating to others. Class sizes should be small with low student-teacher ratios. We've seen studies that show 15 to be optimal. You'll find higher numbers in certain grades of public and private schools. The best choice of school will be one that allows your child to participate and connect with their teachers on a variety of levels.
• Academic Performance: Check out the school's test scores and compare them with other similar schools. Take a look at the school's report card if you're dealing with a public school or ask school personnel for that information when dealing with a private school. School report cards describe characteristics of the school, including the number of children, various test scores, teacher to student ratios, ethnic profiles, poverty levels, and more. Information and report cards on schools can be found from the Department of Education.
• Behavior Policies & Discipline: Ask how the schools handle student behavior and discipline. What happens when a student misbehaves? Does that answer jive with your personal philosophy with respect to discipline techniques? Other behavior related issues include attendance and dress code policies. Find out the school's general behavior policies and decide if they would work for your child. Ask how a school fosters good citizenship.
• Safety: Find out about the policies and procedures that the school utilizes to ensure student safety on campus. How does the school handle problems with substance abuse, abusive behavior, and emergency situations?
• Special Activities: Ask about extracurricular activities for their students, such as after-school sports, photography clubs, gymnastics, rock climbing. Which activities receive the most attention and resources? Are private lessons offered?
• School Facilities & Services: Visit to see a school's facilities (library, computer center, auditoriums, cafeteria, etc.) and the services provided by school personnel (nursing, counseling, after-school care, tutoring, etc.). Some schools will also have a gifted program for students who need a more challenging educational experience.
• Parental Involvement: Children benefit when parents are actively involved in their education. Find out if the schools work with parents. Can parents volunteer? Is there an active and parent organization? If not are you able/willing to volunteer? Schools that support and encourage parental involvement are often strong schools.
• Admissions: It is important that you begin the process of choosing a school as early as possible. Ask about any deadlines for applying to the prospective schools. Understand the admission requirements (test scores, interviews, recommendations, fees, etc.) for each of the schools you're investigating.


Stay involved. YOU are the most important influence in your child's life. Your attitude toward school affects your child's attitude. Whether your child attends a small, large, private or public school, parent interest and participation can make a big impact. Your child should know that you communicate with his teacher and that you will find out if she is responsible or misbehaves in class. Talk to your child's teacher and let him or her know that you are committed to raising a respectful child with a love of learning. It's a team effort: parents, teacher and child.


Keep in mind that choosing a school for your child is not a permanent decision. You may decide to start him at one school for all the right reasons only to find out that in reality, it falls short of your expectations and is not meeting your child's needs. If you are not confident that your child is attending in the best place for her, find out what other alternatives are available. No school is perfect, but you go in with your eyes wide open. When a school turns out to not be a good fit for your child, reassess your alternatives. The choice of school should be made with your child's best interests in mind.  One last suggestion: be considerate of the other parents for whom a school is working well.

How to save big on back-to-school gear

Submitted By: Kim Komando, komando.com

7/18/2009 komando.com You can listen to Kim Komando on 1460 AM Sundays 10am-1pm. Kim is a great resource for all things electronic.

 

In a few short weeks, students will head back to school. That means back-to-school shopping-and strained budgets. But you can get discounts on computers, software and other digital gear.

 

Before you buy, ask the school for minimum system requirements. If possible, check with the actual academic department. It may have different requirements.

You'll need to decide on an operating system. Windows is by far the most popular. You'll run into fewer compatibility problems.

 

But Mac OS X will run Windows and Windows programs. That's thanks to Boot Camp, which is included with new Macs. You must buy a copy of Windows.

 

Windows laptops

Netbooks are popular, thanks to their low prices. However, they don't offer the computing power of true laptops. Skip them. Netbooks are easily identified; they generally use Intel's Atom processor.

 

Opt for an Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Turion processor. These powerful, dual-core 64-bit processors will suit most students. Don't worry too much about processor speed.

Don't accept less than 2 gigabytes of RAM. If the machine runs 32-bit Windows, don't buy more than 3 gigabytes. Windows can't use it.

 

Machines running 64-bit Windows don't have this limitation. However, you could encounter compatibility problems with some programs and older hardware.

Go for Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate. And remember, you may get a free Windows 7 upgrade. Check with the manufacturer.

 

Don't accept less than a 160GB hard drive. Skip solid-state drives. The prices far outweigh the benefits-for now, anyway.

Students in graphics or video production need a dedicated graphics card. This will take a load off the processor. Expect to pay about $100 extra.

Wi-Fi is standard on laptops these days. Choose 802.11n. A DVD burner, ample USB ports and long battery life are essential. Buy a second battery, if necessary.

 

Mac laptops

There are fewer choices with Apple machines. There are the MacBook Pros and the MacBook Air. There's also a lone MacBook.

 

The entry level MacBook Pro will suit most students. However, its 13-inch screen is on the small side.

 

It features a Core 2 Duo, 2GB of memory and a 160GB hard drive. It has dedicated graphics and 802.11n wireless. There's also a DVD burner.

MacBook Pros' internal batteries can't be changed. However, Apple claims up to 7 hours on a single charge.

 

Comparison shop

Even with educational discounts, it pays to comparison shop.

With Windows machines, price similar computers from different manufacturers. You may find a comparable machine for less.

 

Prices even vary between stores. Check educational sellers and the school bookstore. JourneyEd.com, AcademicSuperstore.com and Gradware.com are three educational sellers. Compare their prices to those the manufacturer offers direct.

 

You may also qualify for other discounts. For example, many stores offer discounts for government employees and military members. You may save more than with educational discounts.

 

What to expect

Discounts vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and from machine to machine. Some schools or departments may get better deals.

 

Students can buy Apple's entry-level MacBook Pro for $1,100, or $100 off. Apple is also throwing in an 8GB iPod touch ($230) with most computers.

 

Sony sells the VGN-CS390JC for $883; retail price is $930. It features a Core 2 Duo processor, 4 GB RAM, a 320GB hard drive and Vista Home Premium.

 

You can pick up an HP dv6t series laptop starting at $585; retail starts at $650. Base configuration includes a Core 2 Duo, 2GB RAM, a 160GB hard drive and Vista Home Premium.

 

Software discounts are more impressive. JourneyEd.com sells Photoshop extended for $200; retail is $1,000. Microsoft is selling Office Ultimate for $60 at UltimateSteal.com, about 90 percent off list!

 

 

Linda's Tips for Easy Mornings, Homework Success and A Peaceful Family

Submitted By: Linda Lambdin, Principal of Tierra Pacifica Charter School

Linda's Tips for Easy Mornings, Homework Success and A Peaceful Family


By Linda Lambdin, Principal of Tierra Pacifica Charter School

If school mornings in your home are calm, peaceful and enjoyable. If it's easy to get to school on time, if your children get themselves up and ready, always have their homework and never forget where their shoes are then you can stop reading right here. If however, mornings at your house are sometimes less than idyllic, here are some tips.


You and your children will be getting ready for school in basically the same way for at least 13 years. That means 2,340 mornings that can either be smooth and organized or filled with tears, stress and cajoling. If your routine takes 20 minutes longer a day than it needs to that is 60 hours a year (about 2 school weeks) wasted that could have been spent doing something fun. If you have to prompt your child through the 25 steps process of getting out the door you may want to pull your hair out some mornings and that is not a good way to start the day.


These routines are worth putting time into up front. Put aside some real time to plan in detail how to make everything as efficient and simple as possible. Practice, and soon you will find that life has gotten a lot simpler because your kids will be capable and organized and you will no longer have to be running the show.

brushing routines

1. Making the morning work.
· Arrange your child's bedroom so that they can get completely dressed, and ready without moving their feet more than a step or two. Put the laundry basket in the same area as all of their clothes, shoes, socks and underwear and mirror if they have one. This may mean moving the dresser next to the closet.
· Make a poster (or print out the one below) that lists in order exactly what they need to do in the morning and a different poster for what they need to do at night. The morning one might say...Use the bathroom, wash face, brush teeth, comb hair, dress including shoes, eat breakfast, make bed, put lunch in backpack, put on coat, Place backpack and yourself in car by 7:55 AM. (That's a lot to remember isn't it?! That's why you make a poster with a list.)
· Hang copies of the posters where they dress, in the bathroom and by the front door. (For pre-readers the poster can be stick drawings or snazzy photos of them doing the things.)
· Make a different poster for night. Shower, brush teeth, clothes in hamper, PJ's on, clothes picked out for tomorrow, shoes where they belong, in bed reading by 7:30. (Sample posters are under this article.)
· If your child needs one, buy them an alarm clock. If you're like me and really
struggle in the winter mornings and you hate alarm clocks, you can invest in a
special timer plug. They are sold on line and they make a lamp slowly become
brighter so it's like waking up with the sun. It's pricey though - and a cheap
alarm clock works fine.


2.Keeping track of things - the Zen Backpack.
· Get a backpack and a Sharpie and write your child's name on their backpack,
lunchbox, and their hats and in all their sweatshirts, coats and sweaters.
· Keep the backpack organized by keeping nothing extra in it. Make it a rule that
you may not buy or put anything other than the bare necessities in the
backpack- even though Staples says you NEED all those school supplies. The
same is true for a notebook if your teacher says you need one. Do not fill it up
with staplers, paper and post - its. Keep it as light and empty as possible. Only
carry what the teacher says should be carried.
· Get a good pencil sharpener that will last for years. Install it near the
homework spot. Keep dozens of pencils with good erasers in a drawer nearby
to use throughout the year. But practice keeping track of one pencil.


3. Homework that makes it to school
· Create a specific place for the backpack and coat near a place where
homework is done.
· Hang a poster there that says-When You Get Home -empty trash and lunch
out of backpack, do homework, pack backpack for the next day, hang
backpack in it's spot, feed the dog, set the table, play outside. (In whatever
order works for your family of course.)
· Role-play taking out homework and working in the homework spot, then putting
all books (remember no extra ones) and homework in the backpack
immediately after using them and putting the backpack in it's special spot.


4. Rehearse and practice each of these routines several times so your child already
knows the routines once the pressure of school starts. Practice through play-acting how
to read the lists and mime the routines. Make it fun. Have family members do it right
and note all they did right. Then have them pretend to do things inefficiently or wrong.
(You know... underpants on the floor, going to breakfast with PJ pants on, leaving
homework under the table.) Talk and laugh about what was wrong and how long it will
take if things are that mixed up. Then do it correctly again until everyone really has the
routine of following the lists without prompting.


5. When you need to prompt in the morning, just say, "Look at your list!" Wait, and
then congratulate them when they start to do the next thing on the list.


6.Schedule family meeting times throughout the year in which you brainstorm ways to
simplify these routines or modify the posters even more so that you can shave even
more time.


7. Remember to congratulate and reward yourselves. As these habits become more
automatic your children are receiving two precious long-term gifts: self-reliance and the
security of knowing that they are needed because their family functions like a team.
Oh by the way - if you think you don't have time to create posters, move furniture and
practice routines and you don't mind yelling in the morning and searching for shoes...
no problem. I was a single mom and didn't have time for it either. I'm only letting you
know because, according to my calculations, by the time my son Tyler left for college,
he and I had spent the equivalent of a full school year searching for socks.

Finally, buying lots of socks all the same color helps!

Sample Lists - add pictures for young kids or for fun.
Morning List
· Use the Bathroom
· Wash Face
· Brush Teeth
· Comb Hair
· Dress
· Shoes
· Eat Breakfast
· Make bed
· Put Lunch in Backpack
· Put on Coat
· Place Backpack and Yourself in Car by 8:15
Night List
· Shower
· Brush Teeth
· Clothes in Hamper
· PJ's on
· Clothes Picked out for Tomorrow
· Shoes Where they Belong
· In Bed Reading by 7:30
When You Get Home List
· Empty Trash and Lunch Out of Backpack
· Eat Snack
· Play
· Do homework
· Pack Backpack for the Next Day
· Hang Backpack and Coat in their Place
· Set the Table
· Say a specific thank you to a family member

Four Steps to Safe Backpack Use

Submitted By: Kim Harper

1. Choose Right

Choosing the correct sized backpack is the most important step to safe backpack use. Bring a friend to help you measure your backpack properly.

2. Pack Right
The maximum weight of the loaded backpack should not exceed 15% of your body weight, so pack only what is needed. If the backpack forces the wearer to bend forward to carry, it's overloaded.

3. Lift Right
Face the Pack. Bend at the knees. Use both hands and check the weight of the pack. Lift with the legs. Apply one shoulder strap then the other. Do NOT sling the backpack onto one shoulder.

4. Wear Right
Use both shoulder straps snug, but not too tight. When backpack has a waist strap, use it!

 

 

Tips for Easing Your Preschooler's Transition to Kindergarten

Submitted By: Beth Kanne-Casselman, MEd., MFT

If you are feeling anxious about this new and exciting time for your soon-to-be Kindergartener, you are not alone! By now, your preschool teachers, friends, and family have assured you that your child is ready for this big change and so you are moving forward, leaving the safety of your child's home away from home, whether it be with you, in preschool, or in daycare. The change is important, as are all changes. It is a further step in letting your child go and move into his or her own experience more fully. You can support your child as this step is taken in the weeks to come by recognizing the differences and similarities between kindergarten and your child's experiences so far.

Here are a few tips to help you use this as an opportunity to help your child (and yourself) have a positive experience with the transition to Kindergarten and consequently, transitions in general.

 

Visit your child's new school and together explore the lay of the land-playground, bathrooms, office, cafeteria, and pick up & drop off areas.


Have a dress rehearsal school night and morning or two as school gets closer. (Consider your ideal school time schedule and all that you will need to do.) Celebrate with breakfast out. Make it positive and exciting!


Set up a study area for your child, with your child-a desk or table area, with supplies and an in-box and out-box. This will begin to establish a life-long habit and approach to school and homework.


If you haven't already, begin now to support your child's independence with getting dressed, tying shoes, toileting, washing hands, and putting things away.


Where academics are concerned, read aloud a bit longer each night, ask a question or two as you read together. Practice every day math such as counting objects and noticing shapes and patterns around you. Enjoy these last weeks of summer!


Review and practice opening food items, such as baggies, drinks, string cheese-there aren't always as many helpers available as quickly in K.


Know the signs of stress: Loosing temper, temper tantrums, power struggles, tears for no real reason, atypical behavior, that glazed over look...


When the signs occur: Back off talking about K. Talk about it gradually and increase discussion over time as the school year approaches. Try NOT to say things like, You will be a Kindergartener soon or That's not what a K would do...

 

First address and process your own stress/feelings about the transition. Talk to other first time K parents! Observe how you are communicating this change to your child. Keep it light, fun, and exciting.


It is a special time and should be filled with ease and joy!

 

 

Getting Ready For School

Make sure you have registered for school.

Visit the doctor for all your immunization shots.

Do your back to school shopping for: lunch boxes, school supplies, backpacks, clothes...

Put together a family calendar and keep it visible with everyones day to day activities and appointments.

Give each of your kids a drawer or box for them to put their school papers and homework each day when they get home from school. This makes it easier for parents to go through their things and locate school forms that may need to be signed, etc. Parents should sort through this once a week and file important papers and throw away things they don't need.

Set-up carpool arrangements if it is an option. Look into afterschool programs through your school.

Go over your expectations with your child (bedtime, amount of tv allowed, homework time each day, morning routine etc). Talk to your child about what their schedule will be like when school starts. Have your child take initiative with getting ready in the morning. It might help to lay clothes out the night before.

Parenting Tools for Back-to-School

Sometimes the first day of school can be overwhelming. Below are a few ideas from parents on how to prepare your child and get your household ready.

Get ready for school by setting up in advance a homework station or school supplies area in a corner of your house or kitchen. Use containers such as small baskets for crayons, pencilcases for pens, markers and colored pencils. Then store these along with extra paper, a dictionary, and any other school supplies all together inone place. When its homework time, you can avoid searching for whats needed, and the children can get started without any excuse for delay ontheir daily homework.

One other organizing tip for Back to school is: Prepare a place for storing the papers and correspondence that comes home in your childs backpack. There may be notices from the teacher, permission slips to be signed, announcements of special dates or events, volunteer sign-ups, someof which needs to be returned to the school, or put on the calendar. By using a basket or folder as a designated place to store these papers youcan avoid last minute searches.

A quick tip for getting the kids out the door in the morning:
Allow at least five minutes to load everyone and everything into the car. If it takes 15 minutes to get to where youre going, get going 20 minutes prior to allow for the five minutes of loading.

Preparing for the first day of school

Submitted by Don R. MacMannis, Ph.D. A psychologist specializing in the treatment of children and families for the past thirty years.

When summer is almost over, and its time to close down the lemonade stands and dust off the old backpacks you'll find the only thing constant in life is change. New school or not, this is an excellent time to provide children with social and emotional tools to do their best in the face of lifes inevitable transitions:

First, ask how your child is feeling. Some parents make the mistake of either filling their child with their own fears, or telling them not to be scared about the first day. First, simply listen to your child?s thoughts and feelings. If they appear or are acting upset, suggest that: Lots of children feel sad or scared. Are you feeling something like that??

Now reassure. Once the feelings are on the table and normalized, your child can more easily hear your words of encouragement and reassurance that everythings going to be okay.

Help them view the change as an opportunity. Even though it?s normal to have uncomfortable feelings of anticipation, the butterflies in their tummies can also playfully be viewed as excitement instead of just anxiety.

Program positive thinking. As much as possible, scout out the school, teacher or classmates ahead of time so your child can mentally rehearse what things will be like. Have them close their eyes at bedtime and imagine how their experience will be fun and positive.

Re-establish routines. Providing a sense of security gives children a firm foundation for tackling the unknown. Keep things loving and positive, but with a return to the predictable routine. Sleep is essential to reducing fears and irritability. Spend a few days before the first day of school getting your child back on the new sleep schedule.

Create a ritual of planning. Create a checklist of things to do ahead of time, including purchases, and make it a fun adventure around decision-making. You can also avoid last-minute panic by packing the backpack and laying out the first days ""special clothes"" the night before.

Talk about your own experiences around transitions. Its helpful for parents to teach by example. Share not only our childhood triumphs, but also times that, even as an adult, you overcame the butterflies and are happy you made a change.

Coach them to reach out. Children often wait for other kids to initiate contact with them rather than making the first move themselves. Encourage them to smile, say ""Hi"" to those they know, and reach out and introduce themselves to new kids.

Deal with your own feelings. Facing and constructively expressing your own feelings about your child's transition provides them with a great model for letting go, and also helps to clear some family tension that could otherwise affect them adversely.

Celebrate the day! How about a special healthy breakfast and end of the day celebration for their accomplishment? Give yourself a pat on the back as well!

Get Your Child Ready for a Successful School Year

--Submitted by Huntington Learning Center
For many students, going back to school is an exciting occasion, a chance to make new friends, embark on new extra-curricular activities and take on new responsibilities. For all students, including those who may have struggled through the last semester,  it's also a chance for a fresh start toward academic success. As the most important coaches in our children's race to achieve, there are three key steps we can take to prepare them for the journey ahead.

Step One: Create a Learning Space: Studying is hard work, even more so amid the myriad distractions of television, technology and other factors that may get your child off-track. Establishing a quiet, neat, well-lit space for studying will help your child focus on homework, and significantly enhance his or her ability to retain material.

Step Two: Establish a Learning Schedule: The beginning of the school year is also a good time to set parameters that balance study time and leisure time. Setting aside a designated period of time after school or in the early evening that is to be used only for academic work (includes homework, but is not limited to it) is a strategy that has been proven effective for countless students.

Step Three: Set the Stage for Effective Parent-Teacher Communication: The beginning of the school year also marks a fresh opportunity for parents to establish the foundation for an ongoing, effective dialogue with teachers, guidance counselors and other school professionals. Speak forthrightly about your child's particular strengths and interests, and areas in which he or she may need extra help. Make sure the teacher knows how to get in touch with you.

By establishing the right environment at home and a strong, positive connection to what's happening at school, you can give your child a head start that will drive success all year long.

How Parents Can Support Teachers

  • Volunteer to help in the classroom. This helps the teacher but it also gives you a chance to get understand your child's school experience. If you work find out other ways the teacher could use you in off hours.
  • Supplies, Supplies, Supplies
    Teachers always need more supplies and often spend $$$ of their own money. Ask your child's teacher to provide a wish list to share with parents. Look around the house or pick up a few extra items while you are out shopping.
  • Support your child in being prepared
    Help your kids with their reading and homework (don't do if for them). You will be helping your child by making sure your child is prepared for school each day.
  • Snacks & Lunches
    Send healthy lunches and snacks to school. Schools ask that parents don't send sugary items to school. 
  • Stay informed
    Read the notices and newsletters that are sent home so you stay infomed on what is going on both at the school and in your child's class.
  • Be respectful
    It is important to show respect for your child's teacher in front of the kids even if you do not always agree with them. Remember that you would not want someone coming into your home or workplace and telling you what to do.
    Get to know your teacher by finding out about their interests, family, etc.
  • Show appreciation
    Show up with a coffee or treat for them at least once a school year for no other reason than to say thank you for creating a great learning experience for my child.
  • Offer to help with Curriculum Enrichment.
    Help plan field trips, special programs or recruit class speakers. Teachers can always use a hand and are appreciative of parent support.
  • Get your kids to school on time.

 


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