Many children look forward to the new school year to reacquaint with friends they have not seen since the previous school year, and meeting teachers they have only seen in passing is exciting. When students enter a new school at the beginning of the school year, it is much more intimidating. Not knowing any of the students, teachers, or the little details on how the school is structured can bring a child to tears. The Catholic Diocese of Orlando, who offers some of the top schools in Orlando, FL, has the following information on how to transition your child into a new environment this year.
- Orientation: Parents and children should attend orientation together before school begins. Orientation provides a chance to meet teachers and learn the daily schedule. It is usually held a few weeks prior to school and lasts approximately two hours. This may also be a good chance to determine what school supplies are necessary for classes, and, in secondary grades, to pick up the class syllabus to learn what is expected for each class. Younger students and students new to the school may be able to request a “buddy” to assist in acclimating them the first few weeks of school.
- Website clues: Look online at your school of choice to learn about extracurricular activities, the school’s background, and any intriguing information that may help your child connect with the school. Knowing their school has an award-winning band or a Quiz Bowl team can pique the interest of many new students.
- Develop friendships outside school: During the summer, form playdates, hang out at the library or the playground, or visit a local park frequently to find children the same age as your child. These friendships may segue over into school, or ease the transition to a new town since your child will have an after-school activity to look forward to during the day.
- Find comfort in routine: Beginning a few weeks before school, move sleep schedules to times more appropriate for school. For younger scholars, have structured play time and rest time that is similar to what may be anticipated in school. Older students will also benefit from sleep schedule changes. When students are well rested and have adequate breakfasts, they are much more likely to handle life’s small crises, even in a new school.
- Volunteer at school: Every school benefits from parent volunteers. Whether you are reading a story to kindergartners, stapling together worksheets, or watching over students on the playground, your help is truly appreciated. Although you may not interact with your child while you are on campus, the knowledge that you are close may be the comfort he or she needs to focus on school rather than worrying.
- Be patient: Almost all children react negatively when their routines are changed. School is a dramatic change of almost every daily pattern, and it may take more than a month before anxiety abates, especially when the school is unfamiliar.
The biggest fear many students have is the fear of the unknown. By being open about the school and teachers and allowing them to roam the school and meet teachers during orientation, those fears will be allayed. Discuss any other issues your child may have beforehand and answer all his or her questions truthfully. Building anticipation for the schools in Orlando, FL, especially schools in the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, will expedite the transition to a new school. Call 407-246-4900 for information on our Catholic school programs, and browse our website to learn about our schools, educational news, and ideas pertaining to the new school year.