Back to School

As the clock ticks away the 93 Days of Summer 2018, it is back to school for students. From the early childhood preschooler to the anticipatory high school senior, it is time to get back to all forms of educational pursuits.

Back to school symbolizes many things for different families. For some families, it is the next chapter in the “quest for success.” For many low-income families, however, this time is symbolic of continued financial challenges which will be compounded by the onslaught of the coming holiday season right around the corner. These families must balance household sustainability with the challenges that come with preparing for the upcoming school year. Many children quickly become accustomed to the hazy, lazy, days of summer if they didn’t attend a summer program and must now get reacquainted with their new schedules. But no matter what type of summer experience children have had it is time to focus on returning to school.

Here are some tips to help families get back into the routine of school days.

1) Look for back to school sales and coupons that most retail stores offer. Many Community Action Agencies and churches have back to school drives underway now. Check with your local agency and newspapers for listings.

2) Most schools have orientation days. Try to make attending a priority. If not, parents should visit their child’s new school, talk to the administration, and get to know the staff. It helps to know your way around the building. If children are returning to the same school be sure to meet with the staff to learn about any changes.

3) It is best to guide children back into a scheduled routine before school begins. If children have not been going to bed at a regular time, they need to start the routine immediately. Begin to put children to bed at earlier times so they may rise earlier. The amount of time can increase gradually up to the first day of school. Help your child become organized and responsible, having outfits ready for the week, backpacks ready to go, and paperwork and homework

4) For preschoolers, teach them their whole name and their parent or guardian’s full name, phone number, and address. This can help with identification if a child would get separated from staff on a field trip or community function.

5) Check into tutoring sessions and library study groups that will help children keep up and stay a step ahead of any academic challenges to come. The reward that comes with working hard now will allow for the enjoyment of special activities later.

6) Be sure to seek out the resources available in your school districts such as free or reduced breakfast and lunch. If you want to provide your child’s lunches, remember to check out parenting websites or Pinterest for healthy affordable lunch ideas.

Stay encouraged parents! Remember you are your child’s first champion and teacher. I will leave you with a quote from writer and poet William Arthur Ward who said, “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates.The great teacher inspires.” Continue to be your child’s greatest inspiration.

Jeannette has over 20 years’ experience in social services with a strong focus in early childhood, parent engagement, and program governance. She is also certified in seven family and relationship curriculums and is one of four Parent Mentors/Trainers for the Ohio Head Start Association, Inc. (OHSAI) Parent Ambassadors Program. Jeannette rejoined the OACAA staff as Operations and Support Specialist in 2016 and supports operations management and OACAA initiatives. In her previous role as Project Manager, Jeannette was responsible for providing mentoring, training, and reporting for grants and agencies across the state.