Summer’s finally here, and school is a distant memory. Weekdays are filled with trips to the pool, popsicles, and catching lightning bugs. Worries, along with early bedtimes, are a thing of the past…right? Well, if your child is starting a new school in the fall maybe you have a few lingering concerns that you just can’t get rid of.
And that’s natural. Moving to a new school or starting school for the first time results in a period of transition for kids and parents alike. There is, however, one thing you can do right now that will make the move go more smoothly come fall.
In my opinion, the best way to help a child feel comfortable at a new school is to familiarize them with the school, now. Many schools offer summer classes and camps. If it works for your family, enroll them right away. Even if the offerings aren’t your child’s absolute favorite things, the time they spend on the campus, in the rooms, and with the teachers will do wonders to ease their anxiety….and yours. Think back to being a child. Many times it was the unknown that was the scariest to deal with. Knowing where the bathrooms are, what door you take to the playground, and which water fountain doesn’t spray you in the face are all key when you’re young.
Several schools in the area have found this “early exposure” to school so important for the new students that they require it. At Lamplighter, the cost of a two-week session of day camp is incorporated into a new student’s tuition. The Shelton School requires new students to attend three weeks of summer classes to prepare them for the fall.
If a class or camp doesn’t work for your family, there are other ways to familiarize your child with their new school. Picnic on the school grounds, play on the playground, or toss the football on the athletic fields. Call the school and ask if you and your child can visit the classrooms and walk around the campus. If you don’t get an answer right now, call in early August. Most schools have an orientation for new students a few days before the start of school where they can meet their teacher.
Whichever way you choose to do it, familiarizing your child this summer for the fall will help your child and you.
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