September is upon us: suddenly the summer fades and becomes a memory as the new academic year begins.
We have always loved this month. As children, we remember clearly the excitement of new uniform and new pencil cases, as well as that feeling of apprehension as we embarked on new learning and friendships.
For all children and families, the start of the school year will have this mixture of excitement and anxiety as we encounter things we have not done before and so we thought that we would share some of the wisdom that we have gained over the years as teachers.
Be positive with your child
As parents, we want the best educational experience for our children and we are often particularly sensitive to this as they start new schools or year groups. Children quickly pick up on their parents’ feelings, so it helps them enormously if you are enthusiastic about, and supportive of, their school.
Nothing in life is perfect but once you have chosen a school it will enhance your child’s confidence if you completely support it. Children have the best experience of education when the child, parents and school are like three corners of a triangle, united and working together.
Make time to listen
There are always ups and downs at the start of the school year as children get used to different ways of doing things. They may need extra time for you to listen to them as they navigate their way through it.
Remember that listening itself is powerful. You do not have to solve everything for them – very often we solve things ourselves when we are able to speak freely and work things though with someone we love.
We have spent many years supporting parents who are worried that their child says they have no-one to play with at school. Teachers are always monitoring this and can reassure parents that their child is actually very involved in play with their peers. A child will often talk at home about the moment they went outside and wondered who they would play with, and forget to tell you about all the fun they had!
Teach your child to be confident with new learning
When we talk with children about the start of a new school year, they often say that they think the work will be much more difficult than previously, and they worry they will not be able to keep up with it. This is very normal and understandable. It is something we all feel when we are beginning new things.
The start of the school year is a great opportunity to talk with your child about facing challenges.
You can explain that when we learn new things we often start by not being able to do them easily. Talk to them about your experiences of driving lessons, starting a job, learning a language etc. The great thing is that the more you try, the better you get! By being resilient to making mistakes and getting things wrong we will improve on and enjoy our learning journey.
Helping your child to understand that effort and hard work are their best tools will help them enormously as they go through the education system. It is not just that some people can do things and some people can’t, it is simply that trying and keeping going when things are tough will overcome barriers. It is not that they can’t do things, it is just that they can’t do them yet!
We often say to the children we teach, when they are trying to master tricky concepts, that there is no point only doing things that are easy for them because that would mean they are not learning!
Enjoy the start of the new academic year and all the wonderful chances that it provides to help your child develop skills that will help them all their lives.
Sue and Maryanne x
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Please contact us if you would like more information about how to help your child: email@example.com.