Back when I used to be a teacher, I constantly had parents asking me the best ways in which they could help get their children ready and excited for the upcoming school year.  Now, I could tell you what I told them, but since I have been out of practice with the whole teaching thing, I thought it would be better if you heard from one the current and most phenomenal teachers, in my opinion, out there.

Meet Wendy.

Miss Wendy and her back to school tips

Wendy has been a teacher for over 17 years.  She’s taught Preschool, Kindergarten, 6th grade and even ESL to children in Japan.  Wendy’s degree is in Elementary Education.  When she started Chrysalis Preschool and Kindergarten ten years ago, she developed her own curriculum, including a very effective reading program; even writing and illustrating her own primers.  There are four sets in the series so far, with each set telling its own story.  From blending basic sounds all the way up to irregular vowels, these books help her students learn to read in fun and creative ways and most importantly, with confidence.  She also teaches her students advanced maths, art, science and Spanish.  For Wendy, being a preschool teacher is the most rewarding job she could ever imagine.  She has the chance to teach children some of the first concepts they'll ever learn; concepts that will touch their lives forever.  Wendy is the mother of six children and a part-time children’s librarian at the local city library.

Here's what she has to share...


how to prepare for going back to school

“As a teacher my goal is to help my students succeed, feel good about themselves and to be self-confident. I want to ensure that each child is as prepared and ready as they can possibly be, as they set off onto their next level of education.  As a parent, it’s really quite simple to help our children feel the same way as we send them off to school for a new year.”  

1.  Educate Yourself:  One of my favorite book series for parents is by the author E.D. Hirsch.  I became acquainted with it when my daughter Summer was entering 2nd grade.  I found his book entitled: What your 2nd Grader Needs to Know.  I was immediately excited about having sort of a cheat sheet of what would be expected of her in the upcoming year.  Hirsch has written one for each grade level from Preschool up to Sixth Grade.  When I home schooled my daughters I used his books, and I use the Preschool version as I plan preschool lessons each year.  Once we learn what our children need to know, we can help make sure they’re ready for each year of school.

2.  Prepare Your Child:  My friend and the supervisor of the local children’s library told me how she prepared each of her four children for kindergarten.  Knowing that her child would be asked to draw a picture of themselves on the first day of school she’d sit each one down and show them how to draw the head first, then the neck, next the shoulders and so on.  When her child confidently finished their picture at school, it would go up on the wall, with all the other self-portraits.  Her child could look at it, and feel proud of that first accomplishment. 

Miss Wendy and her back to school tips

3.  Summer Vacation as Learning Time:  Summer vacation is a wonderful time of bonding with your child.  It’s also a great time to review the concepts your child worked for the previous nine months to master.  Studies show that the average child loses at least two months worth of  knowledge gained during the summer months.  As they say, "If you don’t use it, you lose it." and it’s certainly true in this case.  Workbooks, summer school, and online materials can be used to help your child retain all the information they’ve learned and hopefully learn new skills as well.  This is the main reason I offer summer school to parents of my students, to help them continue on in their learning process.  

4.  Be Involved.  My most successful students are those whose parents are involved in their schooling and education.   For example: as a child I was always interested in the same things as my mom.  Whether it was drawing, sewing or baking a chocolate cake, I wanted to do it too, and be just like her.  The same holds true with our children.  When they see us doing certain activities, it intrigues them and they want to do the same.  As we read with our children, take them to the library and encourage them to do their homework, they will see that it’s important to us, and naturally it will become important to them. 

5.  Love and Support Your Child:  Lastly, but certainly not least love and support your child each step of the way.  School can be a challenging and stressful time for children.  Make sure that your child knows that you’re proud of them and love them no matter what.  Knowing that your child has your love and support, will help them through many of the challenges they may face in school.  

how to prepare for going back to school

First day of school jitters?

  Try these ideas....
  1. Before school begins, take your child to their new school, and let them become familiar with it.
  2. When possible, have your child meet their new teacher before the first day of school.  
  3. Read the book, The Kissing Hand by, Audrey Penn, with your child.  No matter the age of your child, a small token from you can make all the difference on those first few days of school.  
  4. Let your child be part of choosing their school supplies for the upcoming year.
  5. Don’t linger for too long in the classroom on the first day, especially if your child is crying.  You will have to leave, it's inevitable.  The longer you stay just prolongs their pain.  As tempting as it is to do so, it won’t help your child become self-sufficient which really is our goal as parents.  Telling your child, “I love you, have a great day, and I’ll see you soon” will be the first steps in that process.  

Going to school for the first time can be stressful and frightening for some children.  This can be true for older children as well.  The ideas I'm recommending are those I've used during the years with my own children and those I’ve seen the parents of my students use successfully year after year. 

See, I told you...Wendy is an absolute sensation!  Hope you found as much inspiration from this as I did!

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