Back to school season is a stressful time of year. Days getting everything organized ahead of time, organizing plans, moving in new supplies, and everything else needed for sessions. To start off on the right foot, it’s important to have a strategy ready to begin the new academic year. While some kids may have had sessions over the summer, the new school year is a fresh beginning and it’s crucial to make sure it starts smooth.
Interest Inventory and Family Updates
Once you know which students you will be supporting during the upcoming year, reach out to them. Send an email or letter to families toward the end of the summer. Ask them how things are going with their child. Be sure to be sensitive to multilingual families and have a translation for them to be able to communicate back to you. Direct questions about goals and focus that they may have had over the summer to avoid regression.
It’s also the perfect time to request information from families to help guide sessions over the next months. Older students may be given an interest inventory that they can fill out ahead of time for your first session. Make sure to have a welcome back note to the kids and let them know that this will guide your planning, so they need to be honest. Always change things up so nobody has the same exact questions from last year.
Organize Your Plans for Sessions
Once the school year begins, it’s easy to get bogged down by papers, reports, and more. Use some time before the new year starts to go through your files. Therapists should look to see what the focus will be for each child or group who you will be working with. Some plans may be good to use again, while others may need to be refreshed. Those interest inventories sent to families and students will also assist with this. When kids are actively engaged in sessions, they tend to retain more information. Sort through things which you have and reorganize what may be helpful so they are ready to go when you need them in the weeks ahead.
Become a Pinterest Whiz
Pinterest is your friend! It truly is a great space to organize ideas and search for new ones to use with students. While Pinterest may be overwhelming at first, it is the perfect place to look for new session plans. The keyword searching tool allows you to be very specific or more general for a topic. Take time to organize boards based on topics so it will be easier for you to go back and find them in the future. Pinterest boards may be organized by holiday, type of therapy, specific goal, outcome desired, or more. The beauty of Pinterest is you can set it up to serve your needs.
The more you do before things get going in the new school year, the better off you will be. Less stress later on will help you to be able to think outside of the box and be flexible when something changes and you need to shift gears.