September signifies so many changes – subtle changes in the temperature which ultimately heralds seasonal changes; damp mornings and cool breezes (or torrential downpours and storm force winds) announce the start of the transformation of leaves from green to autumnal shades; each day becomes a little shorter and shops start advertising Christmas goodies. Did I mention that there are only 13 more Wednesdays until Christmas???????
One of the biggest changes that occur in September is the start of a new academic year; a new term and for some children it means starting a new school or starting school for the first time. Many children will have started back to school in a different classroom with a different teacher. The work may be harder and more challenging. It can be difficult to adapt back to routine when you have been out of the classroom for 6-7 weeks. This applies not just to the children but also to the parents and the teachers.
Change can be good but it can also be an anxious time for both children and parents. You have already checked off your ‘to do lists’, items such as uniform. PE kit, lunch boxes etc. No matter how many check-lists you have, you may need to just sit back, breath and relax. You have planned any carpooling arrangements; told the school about your child’s medical history and may even have signed up to help out at school on a regular basis but is that enough you ask?
Surely you have done so much organising that you have covered all of the bases. You have organised support if your child becomes unwell at school and you are in work plus every other eventuality. But there are a few other things that you can plan for. One of the biggest problems that I always experienced as a teacher was making sure that newsletters and letters about trips etc. arrived home. As a parent I always thought that I had always checked their school bags for letters from school! Sound familiar?
Generally I have found the younger the child the more likely they are to remember to hand over any communications from school; the older they get the more likely they are to have stuffed the letter a pocket or bag that gets left there to become illegible. You can ask them every day if there are any letters from school and they will probably say ‘no’, as a lot escapes their minds during the journey from school to home. This can happen even if the letter is about a really cool class trip.
To counteract this, try to get your child to empty their bag when they get home from school and ask them to put any letters in an agreed place such as a home made/decorated box for letters. By using a system like this the start of the new academic year you may stand a chance of getting most if not all of the communications that are sent home via the ‘pupil postman’. As a backup plan as most schools post their newsletters online, get in the habit of checking the school website (also good for checking homework details).
If you child is lucky enough to attend sessions at Wembley tutoring Centre, you will find a similar system in place for sharing general information and updates. In my next few blogs we will be looking at ideas that you can use to make homework less of a chore; communication with your child and what to do when you have concerns about their progress and the best way to support them when they are experiencing and learning difficulties.