As North Attleboro looks at closing the Allen Avenue School and redistricting 900 elementary-aged students, there is, obviously, a high-level of anxiety in many homes all over town. Some children handle change well. But for many others, change is not an easy thing to deal with. Many children are now facing an anxiety they didn’t have to deal with this time last year. They are leaving teachers and friends behind and, basically, starting over. The most important thing a parent can do right now is help them ease into this transition. Here are 6 tips for helping your child transition to a new school:
Tip #1: Over the summer, drive the bus route or the route you will take from home together
Help your child by familiarizing them with the exact trip that they will be taking this fall ahead of time. Point out different sights that they’ll see on the way to their new school. It will help ease the anxiety on that first day of school if they’ve spent a few times over the summer getting to know the way there.
Tip #2: If possible, visit the school ahead of time
For children who are very anxious, it may be possible to contact school officials and request a tour of the school building before schools open. If you’re unable to tour inside, make sure you take a few trips over the summer months and check out the outside of the school. Visit the playground. Take note of what’s nearby. Help familiarize your child with their new school before the doors open in September.
Tip #3: Make a plan to get together with new classmates over the summer
Once everyone learns their school assignments, find out if there is anyone that your child knows who is currently attending his/her newly assigned school. Then, make plans to get together with their future classmate(s) over the summer. Recognizing a few friendly faces on the first day will help ease the anxiety your child is feeling as they walk into a new school building.
Tip #4: Learn about your new school
Does the PTO have a Facebook page? Is there a school mascot? What is the principal’s name? Connect with your new school ahead of time and learn a bit about its history, then share that information with your child. Learn about the teachers and school administrators. Talk to other parents who are already at your new school and find out details about school traditions.
Connect with your new school on Facebook
One great way to learn about a new school is to see what they’ve been up to this past school year. Consider liking their PTO Facebook page and following along.
- Amvet Boulevard Elementary School
- Falls Elementary School
- Martin School Association
- Roosevelt Avenue School
Tip #5: Be rested and refreshed on the first day
For any child anxious about starting at a new school, avoid the morning rush and organize what you can the night before. Lay out clothes, make a lunch and organize your backpacks. Make sure your child is well rested on the first day. Make this transition easier by starting the school-year sleep routine a week or two in advance. Get up extra early to make sure there’s plenty of time to get ready and out the door on time.
Tip #6: Remember to stay positive and be sure to talk with your child about their feelings
Tempers have been running high, and many families are upset about being redistricted, but it’s important to stay positive, especially in front of your children. Change is never easy, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a bad thing. Point out the pros of moving to a new school: meeting new friends, meeting new teachers, experiencing new activities, etc.
As the first day gets closer, start talking to your child about their feelings, hopes, and fears for the upcoming school year. Reassure your child that there are many other children having these same feelings. Describe their new school as a place to learn new things and make new friends. The first few weeks will be filled with emotions and anxieties, but soon enough the whole family will fall into the new routine. Make the best of the situation by staying upbeat and easing into the transition over the next few months.