Thursday, August 27, 2009

Tips for Getting Prepared for the New School Year

On Monday night I went to my first board meeting for the preschool cooperative that ER will be attending starting next month. It was both fun and a bit surreal to be on the parent side of the home and school relationship. It was a little odd to be the one listening and not presenting. Discussing all the details necessary for a smoothly run program, got me thinking back to the days when I was still teaching and things I used to tell my parents before their kids came to my kindergarten class. When I returned from the meeting, one of the first emails I found in my inbox was one from PBS with some simple but effective ways to help reduce first day of school jitters no matter what grade your child is entering. Here is some of the information from the newsletter, shared with permission: Help Children Ease Back Into the School Year With PBS KIDS®!

PBS PARENTS Experts Share Tips on Getting Kids and Parents Prepared for the New School Year

Starting the school year can be a time of great excitement... and anxiety. Help calm your child's
fears with these teacher-approved hints that will get everyone ready for the big day:
  • Ease into the routine. The start of a new year can be stressful - practice your routine a few days in advance.
  • Ask your child compelling questions. Specific questions help children picture what school will be like.
  • Describe what will happen on the first day. This will help ease nervousness or confusion
  • Tool up. Obtain the class supply list and take a special shopping trip, letting your child pick out a few special items.

For more helpful tips, visit

{To these I'd like to add, if your school has a Sneak a Peek event before the first day make every effort to attend. It can really help a child to visit their new room to get familiar with the environment and met the teacher with the support of their parents. It's also nice for the kids to see each other beforehand, that way some of the faces look a little familiar. ~Katie}

Here are some suggestions from to keep the literacy learning going even out of the classroom.

  • Create a cozy, comfortable reading space with your child. Set rules for this area in your home to maintain peaceful reading.
  • Let your kids catch you reading. Talk about what you read in newspapers, books, and magazines with your children so they understand the importance of reading.
  • Encourage your child to read aloud at home. Your child will learn to read with expression and
    understanding while sharing stories with you – and siblings and grandparents, too!
  • A trip to the grocery store can reinforce reading skills. Have your child write the grocery list, find the items using the store's signs, and read product labels — you can also encourage healthy eating.
{I'd also like to suggest a family book club. Pick a children's novel and read it aloud. Read a chapter a day, take turns reading if appropriate. Discuss the book together and model critical thinking skills for your child, "think aloud" about portions of the plot or make predictions. If your children see you engaging in the book, they will too. ~Katie}
On another topic, I also wanted to share that a new show will be beginning on September 7th that I'm pretty interested in. It sounds like it incorporates science into entertainment; which I think that a low percentage of children's programing focuses on. So I'll be tuning in to see this new one, here's the description from the newsletter:

"Hop on board the fun and fantastical DINOSAUR TRAIN, a new daily CGI animated series for
preschoolers that encourages basic scientific thinking and skills as viewers learn about natural
science, natural history and paleontology through the adventures of Buddy, his family and friends.
Find more at"

We've been over to look around their website, and I like the Field Guide activity. I confess I am never sure how to pronounce all those big long names so I'm glad they do that for me! They also have some fun games, How Big Are You works on estimation. Apparently I need some to practice this skill myself. I played with ER and was wrong three times in a row!

Disclosure: I am part of PBS's Band of Bloggers, I think...LOL! I got an email back from the coordinator saying I was part of it. My picture isn't on their page like some of the others bloggers though and I never got my welcome package. So I haven't added their button to my sidebar yet, but I do support PBS (we even donated an old car to our local channel when we lived in CA) and their programing so I am happy to pass along content I agree with and think is relevant to my readers.

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