The school bells are ringing, and the 2021 school year is about to begin.
For many parents and children, it’s the start to a new chapter in their lives and an important transition, especially after the stop-start Covid school experience of 2020.
After six weeks of sun, sand and very little routine, getting back into the groove can sometimes prove a bit hard. And for pre-schoolers, it’s even more of a change.
‘Commencing the new school year is exciting but can be stressful for kids and parents’, Dr Daniela Acquaro BA, Grad DipEd, MEd, PhD from The Melbourne Graduate School of Education comments “But there are some great ways to help make this transition smooth. Starting regular routines earlier rather than later is one tip. Developing healthy sleep routines and keeping active each day will help with concentration. Setting aside some time each day to read, draw or create together can be a great way to encourage a love of learning. Take time to explore your local area, a visit to the park or a walk down a street where you take time to notice and describe things. Even suggesting a visit to the local library, so children can get back in front of a book, can help. Engaging in fun activities that make learning exciting can also be a way of building concentration before the school year starts.’
Melbourne parenting influencer and mum to Grade 1 and 2 children, Ari and Ambrosia, Zoe George from @thesubtlemummy offers her insights:
“The truck to getting my kids excited for a new year of school is something as little as new pencil cases and books. Sitting with them to write their names on things gets them excited. Also play dates are very important. Some kids feel a little overwhelmed after a long break away from their classmates. Having some playdates breaks the ice a little and gets them excited again for fun.”
Maya Lawrence aged 5, is starting Grade 1 in 2021 at Mount Scopus Junior School and is super excited to finally move up a year into ‘real school’. Her father, Daniel Lawrence, has been easing her into the transition for a few months with at-home activities and new books.
‘Maya is ready to move up a year, but at the same time getting her ready for a stricter routine after a long summer break means we’re all changing our routines a little. We’ve set up a new desk in her room ready to make her feel like a bigger kid and have also made sure she’s getting a few earlier nights in!’
Father of three, Mark Eisenhut, has seen big impacts due to Covid on his children Annie aged 6, Harry aged 7 and William aged 11. “I’m looking forward to a new year and a new start and happy to help them get ready for a new year with a new attitude,” he says “2020 was incredibly disruptive and we’re all hoping for a clean start to 2021 with more consistent learning.”
No matter how many back-to-school tips you’ve gathered over the years, the season somehow always manages to be stressful and a little bit hectic.
‘Transitions can be tough for kids; it doesn’t matter what age” Dr Daniela Acquaro adds. “Starting in a new school or new class is often mixed with feelings of angst about how they will fit in socially and academically. Reassuring them that feeling nervous is ok, is important. Reminding them that it’s more than likely that the other kids are probably feeling the same will start to put them at ease. Children will approach the new school year with a mix of reservation and excitement, so take time to talk about what might be worrying them and help them develop strategies to deal with new situations.’
With the first day of school just around the corner, School Zone (creators of Australia’s most popular at-home learning books and the back-to-school experts) have compiled the Top 10 Back-to-School Tips to help make your kids’ summer-to-school transition as smooth as possible.
These brilliant ideas – from shopping tips to routine game-changers to genius hacks – will help the crew earn an A+ this semester and beyond.
- Create new sleep patterns – set your kids’ sleep schedules to ‘school time’ two weeks before school starts
- Try and remove tech devices 30 minutes before bedtime
- Encourage your kids to read at least one book before school starts
- Discuss what they can expect on their first day of school, so they feel prepared
- Create a family calendar with your kids, including timetables and any out-of-school activities they may be involved with
- Let them choose a new lunchbox and water bottle, and discuss healthy and eco-friendly food options
- Have a practice day at home where they get up, get dressed and pretend they are going to school
- Make back-to-school shopping a fun outing and let them choose their own supplies
- Create a dedicated spot for your kids to read, learn and study – even if it’s just a quiet corner
- Encourage them to have their school clothes and books ready to go the night before and have a designated space (like near the front door) for them to leave everything.
For further information see https://www.hinkler.com.au/brands/school-zone-books
- All parents and children are available for interview and photo purposes.
- Dr Daniela Acquaro ( BA, GradDipED, MEd, PhD, Program Director – Initial Teacher Education, Educational Leadership | Melbourne Graduate School of Education, Melbourne University) is available for interview and photo purposes
- Further details available on request