The 2020-2021 school year is quickly approaching — eek! Between distance learning in the spring and a break for summer, it’s fair to be concerned about the summer slide and wanting your child to start this school year on the right foot. While two weeks may not seem like much time to pack in a lot of learning, there is plenty of time to help your child get back in the swing of things.
We sat down with a few teachers to discuss ways to help children prepare for the start of a new school year. Today we’re sharing a few easy ways to transition back into a school oriented mindset with just a few weeks before the first day.
Read, read, read!
You’re likely already doing this in your home! Incorporating reading in your day-to-day routine benefits a child through repetitive practice. Reading together and discussing what you have read is a great way to interact with your child and practice language acquisition and literary skills. If you have a preschooler, kindergartener or a first grader, teachers recommend that you read to or with them, while second graders or older should read to self, others or be read to. Carve out a little extra time before bed for reading time that will benefit your child’s literacy skills and social emotional cognizance.
Incorporating a little math practice into your child’s day is as easy as 1-2-3! Using manipulatives that you can find around the house are an easy way to practice counting, addition and subtraction. Think cotton balls, coins, pom poms and other household items. Grab a handful of change and practice identifying how much different combinations are worth. Practice counting and addition/subtraction with pasta, coins, beads, etc.
Here’s what teachers suggest for each age group:
- Preschool and kindergarten: counting practice, 1:1 correspondence and number recognition
- 1st and 2nd grade: addition and subtraction facts
- 3rd grade and older: addition, subtraction and multiplication facts.
When was the last time your child picked up a pencil? Refining those fine motor skills are a good idea before heading back to the classroom. Having your child write on their own is beneficial, especially if this was something they struggled with or lost during distance learning. Encourage your child to copy something you wrote on their own or write their name will help when they get to the classroom on day one.
There’s no denying that this school year will look different. While we can’t be totally prepared for what this “new normal” will bring, we can certainly do our best and start implementing little changes now to make those first few weeks easier.
Talking about what this school year will look like with wearing masks and social distancing is important. We recommend practicing wearing masks before the first day arrives. It’s important to prepare on a social emotional level for the new school year too. Talking about the new “rules” and letting your child ask questions will help normalize this experience early. Getting your child excited to enter the classroom by asking them questions will help build familiarity to the experience, even if it is new. What are they excited about, who are they excited to see, what are they nervous about, etc.
Teachers also encourage families to get back into a normal school year routine. Is every day a PJ day at your house? We’ve all been there. Starting a routine of waking up and heading to bed at normal times, getting dressed each day and including chunks of time to practice reading, writing and math will make that first week of school a bit easier.
We hope you are excited for this upcoming school year and wish you the best of luck during this new normal!