We are fortunate and privileged to know many educators through our work at Spaulding for Children. As everyone is scrambling to make these last days of summer break count and get prepared for next year, we reached out to a number of teachers and academic professionals to get their perspective on how to make the most of the weeks ahead.Among the common themes they shared: Get outside. Read every day. And set expectations for the year ahead. Kirsten Nickel is a special education educator, a parent who’s raised eight children, and is a foster and adoptive parent at Spaulding for Children. Her thoughts on getting ready for the coming school year: Get organized as early as possible.
- Get your supplies when you can. When you see them. When they are on sale. Before they run out.
- Get your family schedule laid out. Who is dropping off and picking up? Get scheduled activities on the calendar now. Seeing what’s ahead helps in planning.
- Embrace the routine of a school schedule. It helps children and youngsters know what to expect — and is especially important for any child dealing with trauma in their past. Create routines in their day.
For example, once home from school, enjoy a snack then start homework. Or homework after dinner. Whatever works for your family. But make it a routine and it will help with everyone’s stress.Prepare your students in advance for a new year
- Anticipating change can cause anxiety. If your child is changing schools, or moving up from grade school to middle school, it is natural that they are full of questions. Take them to the new school. Play on playground. Practice walking or commuting. “This is how you will get school next year and this is what it’s like.”
- In the meantime- help them with their anxiety. Big muscle activities like riding a bike or swimming are helpful.
- Get outside as much as possible. There are so many places outdoors for kids to enjoy. From zoos to parks and walkways. Many are free or have “free days.”
Prepare their teachers for the year aheadOnce you get their name, reach out to their teachers in advance by email. Share anything about your child you think would be helpful to them. Of course, you must be assured of its confidentiality. Foster families may have some specific things to consider sharing with teachers
- Clarify what name they go by.
- Tell them your preference about sharing images or your child’s name on any social media or websites.
- If you would like to — and can do so while maintaining your child’s confidentiality — you can share their diagnosis. Some conditions, like autism, are not captured in an IEP (Individualized Education Program).
- Share any medical or medication information you think will be helpful to those who are with your child during the day.