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Expert advice for back-to-school prep
From Staff Reports
Summer is coming to a close, parents. Very soon, Plano schools will be back in session. While some of you may be celebrating this fact, there is still a need to prepare your child for the upcoming school year.
A stressful time for all, a little pre-school preparation could prevent many a back-to-school headache. K-12 education expert Susan Canizares, senior vice president and publisher of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt's K-12 Division, recommends the following tips to help your children transition from pool time to school time.
Adjust bedtime schedules
After enjoying a leisurely summer of staying up later than usual, begin having your children go to bed at the school bedtime two weeks before school starts. Consider adding early-morning activities such as a family walk or sports activities to begin to adjust to morning wake-up schedules.
Increase Recreational Reading
At any grade level, and particularly in K-8, don't underestimate the importance of reading, including reading aloud to your kids. Reading and listening comprehension skills translate to every subject, and should be practiced for at least a half-hour daily until school starts.
Prepare the night before
Before bed each night, help your child prepare for the next day by packing lunches, consolidating school supplies and picking out clothing. Throughout August, use any recreational activities as practice for the school year and run through the nighttime preparation routine with the entire family. This will help to ensure a stress-free morning before school.
Schedule the new routine
Outline a schedule of all of the adult and children's activities for the week and create a master calendar that can be updated. Place the calendar in a central location so that everyone can view the schedule and update it as needed. Establish homework rules now
Set a designated homework time that best fits your family and stick to it daily. Consistency is crucial - so whether you tackle homework right after school or after dinner - set the timeframe now and take advantage of the time block to read for fun.
Buy new school supplies
Many schools provide parents with a list of necessary school supplies for each child's respective grade. Make sure your child has everything he/she needs in order to perform well in school. Items like new pencils/pens, folders and notebooks will motivate your child to be organized and feel like he/she has a fresh start.
Take a tour
If your child is starting a new school or beginning kindergarten, take a tour of the building so that he/she is familiar with the school surroundings and do not feel lost on the first day. Don't skip any orientation sessions, especially ones to which children are invited, as they can meet potential new friends. With older children, explore the school website together, to familiarize them with school information, routines and communication procedures.
Beginning a new grade level can cause anxiety for students that are anticipating harder subjects and more intensive assignments. Take this time to point out your child's academic and personality strengths so that they are less fearful of the upcoming challenges.
Once your children are prepared for the first day, teach them proper safety habits for getting to school as well as how to stay safe throughout the school day. An estimated 2.2 million children ages 14 and under are injured in school-related accidents each year, according to the National SAFE KIDS Campaign.
Accidents can be prevented if parents are on the lookout for potential hazards. To help you keep your kids free from harm, here are some safety tips from SAFE KIDS, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Traveling to and from school
· Plan a walking route to school or the bus stop
Choose the most direct way with the fewest street crossings and, if possible, with intersections that have crossing guards.
· Teach your child never to talk to strangers or accept rides or gifts from strangers. Remember, a stranger is anyone you or your children don't know well or don't trust. Be sure your child walks to and from school with a sibling, friend or neighbor.
· Teach your kids about traffic safety
Whether walking, biking, or riding the bus to school - to obey all traffic signals, signs and traffic officers. Remind them to be extra careful in bad weather.
· When driving kids, deliver and pick them up as close to the school as possible, and don't leave until they are in the schoolyard or building.
· Wear a helmet
If your child bikes to school, make sure he wears a helmet that meets one of the safety standards (U.S. CPSC, Snell, ANSI, ASTM, or Canadian). Research indicates that a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury by up to 85 percent.
· Ride the bus safely. Teach children to arrive at the bus stop early, stay out of the street, wait for the bus to come to a complete stop before approaching the street, watch for cars and avoid the driver's blind spot.
Remind your children to stay seated at all times and keep their heads and arms inside the bus while riding. When exiting the bus, children should wait until the bus comes to a complete stop, exit from the front using the handrail to avoid falls and cross the street at least 10 feet (or 10 giant steps) in front of the bus.
Tell your child not to bend down in front of the bus to tie shoes or pick up objects, as the driver may not see him before starting to move.
Be sure that your child knows his or her home phone number and address, your work number, the number of another trusted adult and how to call 911 for emergencies.
On the Playground
· Check the playground equipment at your child's school. Look for hazards such as rusted or broken equipment and dangerous surfaces. The surface around the equipment should be covered with wood chips, mulch, sand, pea gravel, or mats made of safety-tested rubber or fiber material to prevent head injury when a child falls. Report any hazards to the school.
· Teach children proper playground behavior; no pushing, shoving, or crowding.
· Give your child some strategies for coping with bullies. He should not give in to a bully's demands, but should simply walk away or tell the bully to stop. If the bullying continues, talk to the teacher.
· Make sure your child's school has up-to-date information on recalled toys and children's products. Call the Consumer Product Safety Commission hotline at 800-638-2772, or visit the organization's website at http://www.cpsc.gov/.
Plano ISD by the numbers
First day of school: Aug. 23
Early Childhood Schools:
Beaty - 8:15-11 a.m. or 12:30-3:15 p.m.
Isaacs - 8:15-11 a.m. or 12:15-3 p.m.
Pearson - 8:15-11 a.m. or 12:30-3:15 p.m.
Harrington Chinese Pre-K - 8-10:45 a.m. or 12:15-3 p.m.
Head Start - 8:15 a.m.-1:45 p.m.
Elementary schools (grades K-5) - 7:45 a.m.-2:45 p.m.
Middle schools (grades 6-8) - 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
High/senior high schools (grades 9-12) - 9:00 a.m.-4:15 p.m.
Elementary (grades K-8) - 7:45 a.m.-2:45 p.m.
Secondary (grades 9-12) - 8:30 a.m.-3:45 p.m.
To find your child's required school material list or other information, visit www.pisd.edu/
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