Back to school is just around the corner, and this may be the most anticipated one yet. After the trials and tribulations of the last year, not only will children be excited to get "back to normal" but also parents and guardians might get a bit of a normalcy as we knew it!
So what to do with all this change? We have prepared a checklist of things parents and guardians can take into consideration if your child is moving schools. Whether you're wondering how to prepare for the jump between Primary and Secondary school, an entirely new school, or even if you're making the change from online school to in-person.
When making the decision
Involve the child as much as is appropriate. Many parenting experts claim that being 'child-led' is important to make big decisions like this as smooth as possible. Obviously, we aren't suggesting that the child picks any school out of a hat; what we mean is to make sure they feel like they're part of the process.
For example, when choosing the school you may want to speak to your child to find out what they like and/or dislike with their current school. Browsing brochures and discussing pros and cons could also be good ideas to involve your child and help with some of the anxiousness and uncertainty they may be facing.
Before the first day
Once you've made the decision, there are a few things that you can do to ensure things run as smooth as possible. Some ideas include:
- Visit the school before your child starts if possible. It's impportant to make sure they know where important things are, such as their classroom, the toilet and the canteen. This can make them feel less lost or overwhelmed on the first day.
- Run through how to get to and from the school. Not only is it a good idea to ensure your child knows which bus they're taking or where they'll be dropped off and picked up; it's also worth knowing how long this journey can take to avoid running late. There's nothing worse than being flustered on your first day!
- Make sure your child has everything they need. It's a good idea to make your child feel as prepared as possible. So preparing beforehand and knowing their timetable is invaluable. Make sure they have everything, from books to uniform, stationery to sports kit.
- Try and find other families with children at the new school. Facebook groups are popular for this, try to search for your school/area or you can always ask your child's teacher for an introduction to the Parent-Teacher group. The ideal scenario is you and your child can meet them before the first day, at a playdate for example. This will allow the child to come into school already knowing at least some people.
- Speak to teachers about any specific needs. Generally speaking, schools are very good at welcoming new students. But if you are in a new country and your child doesn't speak the local language, or to go over some subjects they have/not have already done, it's a good idea to let the teacher know. They can then help with accommodating your child where it counts.
After the nerve-wracking first day, the excitement and novelty typically wears off in the first few weeks. This is the perfect time to check in and how things are going for your child. Here are some tips:
- Talk to the teacher to see how they're doing. They are the best person to speak to, as they see your child daily within the dynamic of the whole class. Some good questions to ask may be:
- Are they making friends or well adjusted?
- Are they coping well with material taught?
- Is there anything extra-curricular you think they may benefit from doing?
- Find out about extra curriculars and sign up if they're interested. This is a really good way to make friends and solidify relationships outside of the school environment. Plus, it can give your child an opportunity to develop a new skill or explore a potential talent outside of academics. Variety is the spice of life, and it all looks good on a CV too.
- Find a tutor. Sometimes a big change like changing schools can cause difficulty concentrating or coping with in-class material. Especially considering the past year. To ensure your child isn't falling behind their cohort or to make sure they have the best chance in academics, you may want to consider private tutoring.
If you're stuck finding a tutor, Scoodle can help!