Oxford Learning Provides Helpful Tips to Prepare Elementary and High School Students for Back-to-School!
The school bell is about to ring, and for the next 10 months, children will spend the better part of their days being students. Getting the kids ready for school is so much more than simply buying new clothes and school supplies. It’s about gearing up mentally and preparing their brains for classroom learning and success.
The experts at Oxford Learning — Canada’s leader in supplemental education for more than 25 years and with more than 120 centres across Canada — offer the following tips to help students kick-off the school year on the right foot.
Check out www.oxfordlearning.com for even more tips.
The Early Years
For children in early grades, the back-to-school season can be very scary. New teachers, new friends and new surroundings can be upsetting to young students’ routines. There can even be separation anxiety. Whether young students have back-to-school jitters or not, parents can help young students feel relaxed, confident and ready to do their best in school with these tips:
• Before school begins, take a tour of the school and arrange to meet the teacher and view the classroom.
• Taking a stroll around the building and playing in the schoolyard helps first-graders develop a sense of familiarity with their school environment and lessens some of the anxiety.
• Talk about previous school experiences with children, whether it’s pre-school, kindergarten or the previous grade, and remind them about what they enjoyed about the experience.
• Talk about what they might be learning in the upcoming year and how exciting it is to learn to read chapter books, or learn how to divide, whatever the case may be.
• Tell positive stories about how excited you were about school and some of the things they will be lucky to enjoy.
The Middle Years
Back-to-school can be an exciting time — seeing friends again, meeting new teachers, and entering a new class. But it can also be a time of anxiety: new subjects, unfamiliar classmates, more challenging assignments, and more work. Help alleviate any tension students in the middle years (fourth to eighth grades) may experience, with these useful tips:
• Although it is only one part of preparing for back-to-school, a little retail therapy can help to ease nerves. Picking out new book bags, binders and pencil cases can help elementary students feel in control and even excited to return to class.
• It’s helpful to talk about what the year ahead might bring. Discuss academic strengths and weaknesses and help identify any academic goals. What would your tween like to accomplish this year?
• Social pressures begin to develop during these years — it can be helpful to encourage children to take part in extracurricular activities with their classmates to build friendships and confidence in the classroom.
The High School Years
There is no question that high school sets the stage for your teenager’s future. In high school, grades and extracurricular activities become part of that all-important “permanent record.” This is the time that outcomes are of the utmost importance and there is added pressure and an expectation for students to do their best if they want to get into a good college or university.
When school starts, it may seem like there is an endless expanse of time ahead, and plenty of time to get on track. But, the truth is that the habits and routines that students develop during the first weeks of school are critical and can set the pace for the entire school year.
• High school students especially need to hit the ground running from day one, or they can easily fall behind and the chances of pulling ahead drop.
• Talk to your teen. Prepare them for the year ahead and nurture them to be more independent and to take responsibility for their school work.
• From the very first day of class, students should be using strategies that develop a strong momentum that will carry them throughout the whole year. These include:
o Being organized
o Using a planner
o Developing a homework routine
o Eating right
o Getting enough sleep
• Time management skills are especially critical in high school. The workload increases every year, as do personal and social responsibilities. Balancing an active social and personal life with homework can get tricky — that’s why it’s critical for high school students to master time management, and master it early on.
• Start limiting screen time before school begins. Computers, TVs, and cell phones are the biggest student distractions. Studies show that students can spend up to 7 hours per day online. Create a family screen time schedule and make homework — not TV — the priority.