10 thoughts children have about going back to school

August 25, 2016

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Chatting to the children at Explore Learning, we’ve had some mixed reviews about how they feel about returning to their new school year – but for them all, back to school is always a big transition. Moving up a school year means more academic demands, new teachers and the return of homework!

It’s hard to believe that six weeks of summer holidays is drawing to an end and the new school year is right around the corner! Whilst many parents can’t wait to get their kids back to school, others dread the routine and the end of family days out!

We asked members, “what are your thoughts about going back to school in September?” – here are some of the responses we received…

“I have a brand new pencil case with matching pens and pencils and a matching notebook”

This was always the highlight of my summer holidays; stationery shopping for the new school year! Although possibly short lived, it made me look forward to writing and having homework to complete again! A great way to feel organised is to write a back to school supply list and take a special shopping trip with your child. While keeping basic needs in mind, allow for a couple of splurges like a cool backpack or lunchbox. These simple pleasures make going back to school a lot more fun. Having  the right tools will help them feel prepared.

“I’m allowed to walk to school with my friends this year!”

Accepting that they are growing up and allowing them some independence is always difficult! If this summer your child has begged to be able to walk to school alone or with friends when they start back in September, ensure that you walk the route with them before their return to school. Practise road safety, crossing roads and using pedestrian crossings. If you’re feeling nervous start small and build up. For the first few days leave the car behind and walk with your child, letting them walk ahead. This will help build your confidence and reassure you that they are confident with the route. You could even send your child on small trips over the last week of summer, such as to the post box or to the local shop.

“I’m dreading having to get up early again”

A typical response from one of our older members at Explore Learning! However, returning to hectic mornings and getting up and out on time for school again after a six week break can be a struggle. The kids are used to staying up late, and bedtime routine has gone out of the window, so shifting to the early morning school rush can be a real shock to the system. To ease the transition and avoid the first day of school mayhem, start bedtime routine about 10 minutes earlier each night and wake them up 10 minutes earlier each morning, about a week before the first day of school. This should help get you back on track. Routines help children feel comfortable, and establishing a solid school routine will make the first day of school go much smoother.

“I can’t wait to have a new teacher. He seems strict but really nice!”

Beginning a new academic year and starting over with a new teacher can bring a mix of excitement and nerves. It is important that children feel connected to their teacher so that they feel confident in the classroom. Most children will have been fortunate enough to meet their new teacher at the end of the last school year, but there’s plenty that you can do at home to help them feel more comfortable about starting with a new teacher. Begin talking about the teacher in familiar terms, such as, ‘Mr Twigg will be so impressed that you’ve continued to read every night before bed throughout the summer holidays!’ If you are new to a school take a look on the school website at staff photos. Encourage older siblings, friends or neighbours to tell your child about their new teacher if they have been taught by them before.

“I can’t wait to wear my new schools shoes with butterflies on”

It would appear that the endless queues in Clarks shoe shop and tantrums over having feet measured in the fancy machine is all worth it! It is worth breaking new shoes in over the holidays by wearing them round the house to avoid blisters and sore feet in the first week of school. Practise tying shoe laces if your child’s new shoes are lace up. Encourage your child to change into trainers when they come home and are playing outside in order to keep school shoes looking new for as long as possible!

“I’m feeling nervous about finding my way round high school…it’s so big!”

It’s very normal for children moving up to secondary school to feel nervous. Schools will often issue students with a planner and school map; look at this together once they have it and make sure they feel confident moving between lessons. Encourage your child to leave themselves plenty of time to find their classroom after breaks and lunchtime.  Never be afraid to ask for help or directions if you get stuck! At Explore Learning, we offer a course called Succeed in Secondary to help children transition from primary to secondary school, and continue to learn new skills.

“I’m excited to see all my friends”

Lots of our members are excited to return to school to see their best friends. With holidays and other activities it’s often hard to keep in touch over the summer. It might be worth arranging a play date with some classmates once they start back In September, to help your child feel more connected if they haven’t seen much of their friends over summer. If you can arrange for your child to travel to school that first morning with a friend, even if they aren’t in the same class, it might help ease some last minute return to school nerves.

“I start big school in September and there’s a sand pit!”

Starting school is a big step for every child and parent. Most children are excited to start ‘big school’ whilst others may be feeling a little bit nervous about the change. Talk positively to your child about starting school, as well as listening to and discussing any worries or concerns that they may have.  Get them used to the general idea of school by reading books together about school. A parent at Explore Learning has recommended to us, ‘I am too absolutely small for school’ by Lauren Child. Playing school at home with other family members is another fantastic way to get your child ready and excited about reception; they can practise sitting on the carpet, writing their name and recognising numbers.

“I’m not looking forward to all the homework I’m going to get at high school”

We all know that once we start at secondary school, the homework load generally increases. This can be a difficult transition, particularly for those children who didn’t receive much homework at primary school. Before the return back to school have a chat about how much time you think they will need to dedicate to homework, and together work out a timetable. Help your child to set up a calendar for homework, extra curricular activities and leisure time, ensuring that there is a balance between the three. It can be useful to ensure that your child has a quiet learning environment to complete homework away from household distractions. Encourage your child to go through their timetable and pack their bag with the correct books and homework the night before.

“My new uniform is blue and that’s my favourite colour”

The highlight of my time in schools during September is seeing the new intake of tiny reception children in their slightly oversized uniforms that they will ‘grow into!’ Get uniforms ready and laid out the night before school starts and ensure that absolutely everything is labelled with their name. It is a great idea to have a mental checklist of things they need with them when you collect them from school, in order to ensure you don’t have to spend a small fortune replacing things!  Don’t forget to take lots of photographs in their new uniform on their first day at school!

By Laura Gregson, Regional Support Manager at Explore Learning

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