It’s hard to believe September is already around the corner–before you know it the first day of school will be here! We want you and your middle schooler to be ready. Here are some tips on how to be prepared for the first day of school from our Head of Middle School Hassan Jones.
Hopefully, your family had a restful, fun-filled summer. Now that we’ve entered into August, there are a number of things you will want to consider doing before September to get organized.
First and foremost, parents, you will want to make sure all back to school paperwork is completed early. Be sure to review the upcoming school calendar activities and events. We do not want you to miss events such as the modified fall sports start date (8/30), new student orientation, picture day and parent night, just to name a few.
Also, it’s a good idea to look over our Middle School handbook and curriculum guide materials. Reviewing these documents will help you better understand the expectations and procedures at school, especially if your children are new to the Middle School.
While the business side of back to school is important, other things are just as crucial for a good first day at school. Summer is a time for unstructured schedules and free time. This results in later bedtimes and becoming unaccustomed to more rigid schedules. Dr. Hassan suggests, as a good starting point, opening a dialogue about your school routines with your children, where you discuss expectations for the school. This may be regarding when they pack their backpack, when they will bathe (are your children morning people or evening people?), when and how long they will have for homework each evening, and goals they might have for the coming school year. Once you’ve discussed the best possible routines and expectations for school, begin to reinstitute those morning and evening routines a couple of weeks before school.
Starting to discuss expectations now will allow you and your children to slowly reintroduce routine before the first day of school.
Some of these may not need to be ongoing dialogues. Hopefully, you and your kids will establish a routine that is best for the family. There are other topics, however, that we hope you develop an open, ongoing dialogue about: social media use and what is happening at school. We strongly encourage that you continue to ask questions about your children’s social media life and have clear expectations about its usage during the school year.
Ultimately, we want you to trust your child and help them foster their independence, but verify that they are doing what you expect them to do.
As for students, they need to be sure to complete all summer reading and/or summer assignments as early as possible. It will be hard to be ready and organized for the first day of school if they put off their assignments until the night before our first day back. This will also establish a precedent for time-management for the school year. Rather, accomplish assignments early and then begin to check that all required school supplies are purchased. They should also appropriately label their school supplies, which will help them save time later in the year.
In addition to some of this preparation, it is important students begin to adjust their sleep routine before the first week of school. It is very hard for our bodies to change our sleep cycles in one day, so they will need to start practicing going to bed earlier and getting up at a consistent time in the morning well before the first day of school. We want our students to learn to feel more in control of knowing what kind of sleep their bodies need. Allowing them the chance to work out the proper sleep schedule for school now is a great way to accomplish this. Starting now also means that they will have their routine established and will be rested for each day.
We also want students to take time to establish 2-3 academic and social goals they would like to achieve this year. If your children are not prone to setting goals like this themselves, parents, you can help open up discussions about what they hope to achieve. This may be from getting better at handing in homework to making one new friend this year. Having goals will help your children find motivation and positivity during potential slumps in the academic year.
Ideally, we hope students are already tackling their summer assignments, organizing their school supplies, establishing goals and setting up a regular routine independently. They may, however, need your assistance staying on top of all of these tasks! We want our Middle School students to remember—in Dr. Hassan’s words—to think positive, be confident, and do their best. See you in September!