So school is starting up again, and emotions run high—for everyone! Goodbye to summer. It went too fast, or too slow. There is the relief of being back in routine and reconnecting with friends. There also may be anxiety over meeting new teachers, encountering new learning challenges, or moving to a new school.
Third grade had been very difficult for Claire. She had an early growth spurt and towered over most of the kids in her class. A very emotional child, she had been the perfect victim for bullying all through her third grade year. A week before 4th grade began, we searched the classroom lists taped to the windows of the school. We found Claire’s name and the name of her teacher on one of the 4th grade class lists. Claire screamed and started to tremble, insisting she had to change schools because “some of these kids already know me” from 3rd grade. A meeting with her teacher before school started was exceedingly helpful. Her new teacher promised Claire that no bullying would go on in her classroom, in the lunchroom, or on the playground; and she stuck to her promise. All that year, her teacher made special efforts to help all the children in her class make new friends and practice kindness towards each other. Claire had a banner year and truly blossomed. She made many new friends and gained much better control over her emotions.
For kids with emotional or behavioral difficulties, the start of school can be critically important to the success of the year. There are numerous websites which offer excellent tips for parents and teachers on preparing for the return to school. I have listed a couple of especially good ones at the end of this article. By making sure our kids have what they need, are organized, and have a clear understanding of what to expect both in school and at home we can reduce children’s anxiety and assure this school year gets off to a good start. The more prepared we all are, the more confident our children will feel about the coming year.
Click on the following sites for some useful tips on getting ready for school.