The start of the new school year can be very hard on kids and adults alike. Summer vacation may have included some sessions, but the schedule was light and kids have many more freedoms than they do while in school. Much of the start of the year is getting to know everyone, reevaluating goals, and settling into the routine. Be sure to use this time to gain trust with the kids who you will be working with over the next months and beyond. Break up testing with stories, crafts, or other fun activities to ease their fears.
Easing Back to School Fears
Transitioning back into a school routine is not easy for many kids. It’s often difficult for them to recall that this time will pass quickly and they will be back on track before they know it. Take time to talk about fears which they may have. Encourage them to share their feelings and express themselves. For some kids, they may be more comfortable writing or drawing this rather than talking about it. Other children may not feel comfortable sharing with other students present. Get these kids to chat with you alone when you have a moment. These breaks from testing and evaluating will allow you to continue to get to know students. In addition to this, you will be able to see more of what may work well in the upcoming months. Still, your focus with these breaks should mostly be on easing their stress level with the new routine.
Laugh with Back to School Stories
Sometimes reading about characters in a book getting used to a new school year will help kids not to feel alone. Use a book walk to predict what a book may be about. Kids can guess what will happen, ask and answer questions about what they see, and boost their confidence when working within a group. Some books that are fun to help easing into the new year include:
- My Teacher Sleeps in School by Leatie Weiss
- If You Take a Mouse to School by Laura Numeroff
- David Goes to School by David Shannon
- Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes by James Dean
- How Do Dinosaurs Go To School? by Jane Yolen
- Froggy Goes to School by Jonathan London
- Never Ride Your Elephant to School by Doug Johnson
- First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg
- This School Year Will Be the BEST! by Kay Winters
- Teach Us Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
Therapists should be sure to share what they may be reading with families at home. Tell them the titles of books that you have read. If the books are available in additional languages, provide this information to multilingual families.