Leaving your summer mode and going back to school can be a whirlwind. As the new school year approaches, teachers from across the county weighed in on tips and reminders for students and their parents to help with the transition.
Whether new to a school or returning, here are a few suggestions to get students back in the school routine.
Teachers from Benner Elementary School in Bellefonte, including fifth-grade teacher Jennifer Zahuranec, elementary reading specialist Rebecca Roos, third-grade teacher Christa Calabro and fifth-grade teacher Laura Covone said that many schools have very specific requirements for supplies and other things, but suggested that at the beginning of the school year, students should:
Read. The best way to be prepared for the new challenges of a school year is to read. Its never too late to pick up a book.
Try to get into school routines before the first day. This includes going to bed and waking up earlier.
Eat a good breakfast before heading to school each day.
Easterly Parkway Elementary School first-grade teachers Debbie Marsh and Alix Croswell suggest students and parents should:
Find an appropriately sized backpack. This means one that is big enough to fit items such as a folder and lunchbox, but not too big that it is a burden on the student. It has to be a practical backpack, Marsh said. Not too small, but not too large.
Croswell added that backpacks should be checked every night for work every primary student in the State College Area School District has a take-home folder and cleaned out each week. Little bodies end up carrying around a lot of stuff, she said.
While on the subject of packing, parents should remember to throw in a cool pack with food. We dont have refrigerators for packed lunches, Croswell said.
Both teachers recommend attending beginning of school orientations, meetings or information sessions. Theyre really valuable, Croswell said, adding that if you have a chance to walk through the school with your child, do so.
For playground time, Marsh recommends sticking to sneakers or other protective footwear. Flip-flops are comfy, but theyre not practical on the playground, she said.
Croswell added that its a good idea for parents to send a water bottle to school when its hot and a small snack until students get into a routine. Bodies have to reacclimate to going to school again, she said. Its always a good idea to have an extra snack in the backpack until snack times and class routines are made routine. Lunch may occur an hour later than your children are used to eating.
Croswell also said to be sure to label the inside of childrens items, including their backpacks, umbrellas, coats and lunchboxes.
Marsh said that initially, school drop-off and pickup times may vary. If your child doesnt ride the bus, its going to be a good week or so until routines are down, she said, recommending that parents expect delays and arrive early.
She added that its also a good idea to learn your particular schools policies by checking the school website or speaking with a school secretary since policies may vary.
Croswell asked parents to be aware that in the morning teachers are receiving 20 or so children for the first day all at once, and that anything you can do to make it a quick and seamless transition really helps.
Marsh added that even if the child looks despondent, the turnaround is quick.
Both teachers said that Box Tops are beneficial when parents and students cut them off of certain product packaging to collect. We buy a lot of books, Croswell said.
Finally, Croswell had a tip for older students: Dont forget your parking pass if your high school requires it!
Kristina McKenna, an eighth-grade English teacher at Philipsburg-Osceola Junior High School, had a few tips for students moving up from the primary grades, including:
McKenna said in middle school, deciding what materials students need and how they wish to organize their classwork is a discussion parents should have with their children. The lists of stuff you should bring in become a whole lot smaller, she said.
When kids transition from elementary to middle school, those lists become nonexistent, she said, and parents should include their children in back-to-school shopping and ask them, What works best for you? McKenna said. Thats their organizational system.
McKenna does recommend always having a take-home folder to bring home handouts to study, so students arent taking everything home in a big binder every day. A folder is a place for all of those little notes for mom and dad, she said.
She said that there are basic supplies, such as book covers, that every student still needs. But an additional supply McKenna suggests is a locker organizer, since students entering middle school havent had a locker before.
It gives them an extra shelf to put books, she said.
And, she added, you can always get in good with the teacher if you send in a box of tissues. We have to pay for those out of pocket ourselves.
Her own children are still in elementary school, but McKenna suggests for any grade to always buy a book when back-to-school shopping. Its something they get excited about, she said. Its their idea that theyve purchased it, so theyre excited about it. For some kids who havent picked up a book for a month or two, its a good way to get back into the swing of things.
And dont forget to take your lunch or lunch money!