Aug 5, 2011

What Parents Should Expect {Guest Post}

We are already in DAY 5 of Our Back-To-School Series!!!  Today, I am so excited to have my friend Lisa, (or Mrs. Snow as her class calls her!), guest posting!  Lisa was my oldest daughter's Kindergarten teacher and has since become a great friend of mine.  My daughter LOVED being in her class, and I felt great knowing that my little girl was in such good hands.  
Mrs. Snow and Addy at Open House for Kindergarten

One thing I remember about Addy starting Kindergarten was how little I knew about what to expect.  So I thought that it would be great for parents if Lisa could do a post on what parents should expect those first few days and weeks.  

So, here we go...

Ready or not school, here we come!  The beginning of school can be both an exciting time of year and can be a little nerve wrecking.  School is looked at from many perspectives, that of the teacher, the parent, and most importantly the child!  I am hoping to ease some of the anxiety for you, which will in turn help your child.  My name is Lisa Snow; I have been a teacher for 11 years.  I have taught an all day typical kindergarten class and an inclusion kindergarten class in London, Ohio.  Then moved back to my home town of Centerville, Ohio where I taught preschool and where I currently teach a typical ½ day kindergarten class in a speech inclusion neighborhood, at Primary Village South.
The beginning of school means lots of different things.  For some it is the joy of reuniting with friends, getting new supplies, and getting back into an academic routine.  For others, this is the start of something new, a new building, new teachers, new friends and an entire new experience!  A parent needs to let the child know that this is an exciting time and focus on the positive aspects of school.  When the parent is excited the child will naturally follow the parent’s enthusiasm. 

Make sure the child is involved in the preparation before school.  I would start with the first letter that you receive in the mail from school!  Let your child know that they have mail from their school and share pertinent information with your child.  Let your child pick out his/her own backpack.  Most schools allow families to tour the school building prior to school.  So, make it a special day!  Walk through your child’s school and visit the classroom, the gym, the library, the music room, and the office.  Let your child practice walking to their classroom and the restroom.  Then play on the playground!  By doing this your child is able to explore a new place with someone they are comfortable with which makes the visit to Open House a little easier!  Then at Open House, your child can focus their attention on the teacher and other children in the class. 

Read all information from the school carefully!  Make sure that all paperwork is turned in right away.  Most teachers also send a letter or have information for the school and class routines and expectations.  Write questions down that you have so you don’t forget and most likely they will be answered through some written format from the school, within the first couple days of school.  This way you can ask all questions at the same time.  Most teachers have an email address and this is an easy way to get questions answered.  Just try to remember that the beginning of the school year is a very busy time for teachers.  A teacher will have to focus on many students not just one, so it may take a day until an email is answered.

Open House should be a fun experience!  Explore the classroom and meet the teacher and make a couple new friends.  If you have questions, bring paper to Open House so you can write them down.  Open House is an opportunity to briefly meet the new teacher, so if you have specific comments or important information, email the teacher instead of taking the time during the Open House since it is such a short time period. 

Routines are an important part of school.  This starts at home.  Think of a healthy dinner, good night sleep, and healthy breakfast.  Your child will need extra sleep the first couple weeks of school!  The healthy meals will help promote brain activity as well as giving your child energy.  Transportation to and from school is also an important routine.  If your child will ride the bus, then start this the first day of school!  Many parents want to change the schedule the first week of school in order to take their child to school.  Try to remember that routines also exist on the bus with the bus driver.  If you do make changes, you will need to contact your child’s school and transportation for that district.  Usually forms are also provided on district web sites for these types of situations. 

The first 2 – 3 weeks of school most teachers work on building a community within the classroom.  The teachers and children are learning about their school and each other.  Try to make sure your child does not miss school the few first few weeks.  Many routines and expectations are also developed during this time.  Do not be surprised when your child comes home and upon being asked about their day, replies with a “we did nothing”!  This is typical!!  Instead ask direct questions, “What was the story about that your teacher read”?  “What song did you like best today”?  “What did you play on the playground”?  “Who did you play with today’?  These questions will give you better results instead of an open ended question.  Most schools also have an evening when parents are invited to hear about the child’s day in the classroom (I highly recommend going to this event) or a teacher may send home a schedule for the day.  This will also help when asking your child about their day.

Think of your child’s teacher as another important person in your child’s life.  Trust me, they want what is best for your child, so remember communication is important.  Most importantly just let your child know how exciting school can be and what an important addition your child is to the classroom and school!  Let them know that their smile and ideas are valued at home as well as in school! 

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