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Beginning the School Year Well

Teachers often say they celebrate the new year twice, once on January 1 and again in September when school starts.

For students, each September offers new opportunities for growth. Beginning the school year well sets the tone for the rest of the school year. There is much parents can do to support a successful school start for their child.

Making the transition from lazy summer days is often difficult for students, and they need to be reminded to get to bed earlier. Children may be nervous about getting a new teacher or starting a new school. Parents can reassure them that everyone is nervous in new situations, and that many teachers, too, face anxiety at the start of a school year.

September is a time when many extracurricular activities begin, and it is easy for students to become overloaded with “extras.” While out-of-school activities, like sports and music contribute greatly to a child’s development, it is important that students not be overloaded, particularly at the beginning of a school year when they are already adjusting to change.

Show your child that you value learning and education. Ask questions about what is going on at school. Often general questions like “How was school?” or “What did you do at school today?” receive answers like “fine” and “nothing” and leave parents feeling frustrated and uninvolved.

Try to ask more specific questions like:

What new words did you learn today?

What part of the project are you working on now?

Who else is in your group? What other projects did people choose?

What notes did you take in Social Studies/Science/History, etc., today?

What is the most important part of the science project you are working on now?

Parent interest and encouragement enhances a child’s learning. Introduce yourself to your child’s teacher early in the school year, and let him or her know of any special concerns or worries that you or your child may have about the school year. Teachers can be contacted informally, with a note, a phone call, or a brief conversation when dropping off or picking up your child. Be sure to make an appointment if you need to discuss things in depth. When teachers and parents work together to help children have a good start to the school year, they help make the rest of the year go more smoothly as well.


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