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Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Six Tips for Making the Start of School Less Stressful

The beginning of the school year is an exciting time, but for many children getting backinto the routine can be difficult. Becoming familiar with new classrooms, classmates, rules, and teachers can be a difficult transition. Below are ideas for starting the new school year right.

1. Return to a School Sleep Schedule - Help children make the transition easier by getting them ready physically for early mornings. A gradual change is often more difficult than an immediate change. The first few days of getting up early and going to bed early may be difficult, but this will be helpful in the long run. Make getting up in the mornings easier by doing fun activities such as going on a walk, making breakfast together, or taking an early bike ride.
2. Introduce a New Environment or Re-Introduce a Familiar One: Three months goes by quickly, but children often forget many important things about school. Make a book with your child to remind them of their classmates’ names, teachers’ names, school layout (auditorium, art room, music room, etc.), bus rules, classroom rules, and school rules. Children can help by drawing pictures or writing the text. For children starting a new classroom or school, the teacher most likely will send information home that can be used to write a book.

3. Take Opportunities to Visit the School - Schools often have open houses or let children stop by before the year starts. A child’s stress can be reduced by seeing their classroom and meeting their teacher. If this is not possible, drive by the school and point out key areas such as the bus drop off/pick up, cafeteria, playground, auditorium, and gymnasium.

4. Involve Kids - Shopping for a book bag, new shoes, pencil holder, and other school necessities is a fun tradition for many families. Help your child write a list of items they need for school. Take the list to the store and let them pick out their own supplies. The list is a great way to practice reading and writing as well as planning. Give older children a budget to practice their math skills and to learn about decision making and purchasing.

5. Plan Ahead - Parents have many things to remember before the year starts. Make a list and check things off so your stress does not become your child’s stress. Scheduling medical appointments, buying school supplies, and figuring out the bus schedule in advance will make the days leading up to school more relaxed and less activity packed.

6. Create Summer Mementos – The end of summer can be very sad for many children. To remind them of the summer, have children create a collage of pictures, objects (e.g. event ticket stubs or magazine advertisements of movies or places they attended), or drawings. They also can make something for people they will miss. Have them write letters or make cards for people they will not see regularly during the school year such as camp counselors, camp friends, or lifeguards at the pool.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

Maisie makes a splash!

Seven year old Maisie was so inspired by the courage of her friend, who is currently being supported by CLIC Sargent that she wanted to help.

Young Maisie joined in a Swim-a-thon at Yarborough swimming pool, and swam 21 lengths in 55 minutes as part of a relay team and raised a £20 for CLIC Sargent. Maisie was fantastic and star swimmer being the youngest in the team. All her team mates were over the age of 32!

Dad, Andrew also took part in the relay and said: “We are all extremely proud of Maisie and her fundraising; she was an inspiration to all the adults in the team.”

Well done Maisie!

People First Education are proud to support Clic Sargent. To find out more, click on there banner below right.

End of Summer Activities to Prepare for the School Year

The start of the school year is an exciting time but the transition back to school can be stressful for many children. Help children prepare for the new school year with these helpful strategies.

1. Review Skills and Goals – Review school reports and goals and document progress towards goals. If teachers and therapists provided activities or ideas to address skills, take the time to focus on these prior to school starting. Even small reminders about skills can help prepare children for addressing these in the classroom.

2. Take Advantage of Natural Learning Opportunities - Use natural opportunities to address a wide range of skills such as asking a child to help count silverware while setting the table (counting skills) or asking them to read directions while cooking (reading skills). By keeping a child’s goals top of mind, natural learning opportunities can be easily identified.

3. Use a Calendar for Visual Reminders – Many children benefit from visuals. Mark important events leading up to the start of school on the calendar. Examples of activities to put on the calendar are the first day of school, shopping for school clothes, and buying school materials. Discuss how many days are left until each event and have children participate in planning by helping write shopping lists and decide where to shop.
4. Return to a Schedule – Summer breaks often are not very structured. Start getting back into a routine so children are more prepared for the school year schedule. Sleeping, eating, brushing teeth, bathing, and bedtime rituals are examples of activities typically scheduled at set times in a child’s routine. Work on a consistent schedule to help transition back to school.

5. Use Art and Literature - Have children draw, make collages, or paint things they remember about the previous school year. Have them write about or discuss what things they like about school and what they are looking forward to in the new school year. Use these memories as visuals to discuss returning to school.

6. Play with Friends from School – Some children regularly see classmates over the summer while others only see school friends during the school year. Schedule play dates or host a classroom party to help children become re-acquainted with each other.

7. Enjoy the Rest of the Break – Although planning for the school year is important, make the most of the last few days of summer. Create lasting memories by going on picnics, attending community events, and taking advantage of extra family time. Take pictures to remind children of summer experiences and create a ‘Summer Memory’ book to encourage communication and language. This is a perfect item for show and tell at the start of the school year.