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Tips to kick start your child’s school year

How can you help your child be ready and confident for school in 2023?

NEWS 30 Jan 2023

From ensuring younger children can put on their school uniform and unpack their lunchbox to helping older children prepare a weekly schedule and get enough sleep, there’s plenty that families can do to help children make a positive start to the school year.

Here, some of Haileybury’s most experienced teachers share their tips and ideas to prepare families and students for the year ahead…

Tips for Preps

Prep teacher, Linda Veleski, recommends parents ensure children know how to pack their bag and dress and feed themselves.

  • Let children practise packing their own bag, including using the zipper.
  • It’s a good idea for your child to wear their shoes a few days before school starts, to wear them in. Shoes with Velcro are a great choice.
  • Let your child practise eating their lunch from their lunch box, so they know how to open and close it themselves. It’s also a good idea to label their snack and lunch, so they know what to eat when.
  • Talk to your child about where they will be dropped off and picked up at school.
  • Read books about starting school so children can share their feelings about this with you.
  • Help children learn to listen to two or three-step instructions and know how to follow them.
  • Teach them about sharing, taking turns and cleaning up after themselves.
  • On the first day of school, see your child off with a happy, confident and quick goodbye.
  • In the first few weeks of school, give your child plenty of cuddles and support.
  • Talk about your child’s day and focus on positive aspects eg what was your favourite part of the school day?

Tips for Middle School

Middle School teacher, Brent Ritchie, says establishing a regular bed and wake-up time, a healthy breakfast routine, and making sure you have all uniform items, booklist items and stationery ready for their first day at school creates an organised start to the year.

  • Beginning something new brings many questions about the unknown. Explain to your child that any nerves are normal and every other student feels the same way.
  • Reassure your child that they will meet many new people from their home campus and across Haileybury’s other campuses through APS Sport – it’s a chance to make many new friends and to try new sports.
  • The first two days of Middle School include a designated induction timetable where students learn how to access online resources, navigate the Canvas learning management system, use the library, access lockers, learn how to use the IT Help Desk etc.
  • Help your child create a homework routine and a homework timetable.
  • Create a workspace at home that has sufficient lighting and that is free of distractions like TV and noise.
  • Download the myHaileybury app so you can receive up-to-date information from the School eg details on Saturday morning APS Sport fixtures.
  • Encourage your child to check their emails and Canvas regularly as staff communicate through these avenues.
  • Encourage your child to have an open dialogue with their homeroom teacher – any challenge can be successfully navigated if it is addressed early.
  • Ask your child how their day was and if they are finding the transition to Middle School challenging, ask them why and encourage them to speak to their homeroom teacher.
  • Encourage your child to follow their passions while also trying something new. There are always plenty of co- and extra-curricular activities on offer – from musicals and chess club to sports. Some schools, like Haileybury, even offer Pipes & Drums.

Tips for Senior School

Senior School teacher, Marc Vegter, says labelling resources for each subject, thinking about how to most effectively set up their locker, and showing interest in your child’s interests can help students make a positive start to their final years at School.

  • Organise each subject’s resources so you know you have everything and label or engrave everything.
  • Review your home workspace and get it ready.
  • How would you like to set up your locker and is there anything extra you need for your locker?
  • Set up your computer – delete or archive anything you don’t need any more and create a filing system for each subject on your computer.
  • Log onto Canvas and download curriculum documents.
  • Think about how students are going to keep an accurate record of important dates – will they use a physical diary, sticky notes or Outlook calendar?
  • Offer to help your child create a weekly schedule that includes sport, study, social time, time for themselves, eating and sleeping.
  • Be interested in what your child is studying – read their English book or watch a documentary with them on what they are studying in History etc.
  • Help your child set goals for upcoming assessments and review those goals afterwards – what can they improve and how.
  • Regularly go for a walk with your child – it’s a great way to chat with them about what is happening in their life.

While the start of the year may seem a little overwhelming, a few weeks of support and getting to grips with how to be prepared and organised will help students settle in and ensure the rest of the school year runs smoothly.