Copper Mill Elementary Principal Angela Cassard recently received a parent shoutout for going the extra mile to help two new students feel more comfortable about starting at a new school. Cassard offers the following tips for parents to help their children get more comfortable with back-to-school, especially if they are nervous about a new school or grade level.
Enthusiasm & Positivity Are Key.
The change from a homeschool environment or the transition from summer to a school year routine can be daunting for a child.
“I think anxiety is prevalent in young children when starting at a new school, or even a new grade sometimes,” said Cassard.
If your children are worried about a new environment or teacher, focus on the positive aspects of the new experience. Discuss all the positive aspects at school such as their favorite subject and the activities they love at school. Avoid arguing counterpoints against their fears, and instead, talk about the real experiences – the fun they will have, friends they will make and exciting new learning opportunities their new grade or school offers.
Keep the conversation about all the positive aspects of school, such as their favorite subject and the activities they enjoy.
Let Them Get Familiar with a New School or Classroom
Going on a tour will help the kids to become more familiar with a new place. Let your child see the new classroom and ask if it is possible to meet their new teachers. Seeing the new space can help reduce first-day anxiety by helping them get familiar with their classroom location, layout, and feel so they know what to expect.
“Copper Mill is a large school, it can be intimidating for students,” said Cassard. The sheer size along with new freedoms and switching classes may induce anxiety in some children. If your children are anxious about their schedule or finding classrooms, a tour can act as a walk-through to help put them at ease.
Principal Cassard meets with every new student and their parents to introduce them to the school.
Find a Buddy
Giving an opportunity for your child to connect with a peer for the first day of school or ahead of time is a great opportunity for them to get comfortable and hear about the school or grade from their perspective.
Copper Mill Elementary has a Team Council, a group of students in charge of showing newcomers what life is like at Copper Mill Elementary and hosting events like dances.
“Principals have a certain stigma, so an introduction by the team council is important for the new student to get another student’s perspective,” said Cassard. “Having another student show them through their schedule, classes, and talking with them about their experience is so helpful. Just a proper introduction from a student’s perspective is best.”
If your child takes the bus to school and there are other children in the neighborhood who go to the same school talk to the parents and ask them if the kids can meet up at a bus stop in the morning. This can help your child have more fun on their way to school and feel more comfortable.
“Middle school is a time for students to be more independent and get involved in school; introducing this concept to them is important so they can understand that members of the team council are helpful and involved students.