Ways to Ease the Transition Back to School

As we turn our collective gaze towards the transition back to school, City of Lakes Waldorf School is prepared to assist families with the emotional stress some students may be experiencing in relation to their return to school. The joy of returning to friends, teachers, and some familiarity will include many new adventures. As we all adjust to this new landscape, we are aware that new requirements and procedures may create heightened levels of anxiety for some children.

Our Educational Support Team has prepared the following list of ideas to help ease this transition, and current parents are also invited to join us for a parent conversation on this topic (see Parent Support Circle info, below).

Most importantly, please know that the Educational Support team is prepared to work with children in our community who need additional support. Do not hesitate to reach out to Kerry Miller and Neela Bettaglio at educationalsupport@clws.org if you have questions or need further assistance.

Ideas for preparing children for the new school year:

  • Be honest, clear, use the power of story.
  • Reassure safety.
    • For the young children: “The school/teachers will keep you safe.”
    • For Gr 2/3 and above: Share all that the school has put in place.
  • Make a visual calendar together that includes symbols/simple drawings of both new and constant elements for the children.
  • Offer reminders about the positives (more outside time, being able to see friends and teachers, etc.).

Ideas for preparing children for new COVID-related procedures:

  • Become familiar with wearing masks as a family, before the start of the school year.
  • Offer your children the chance to play with other tools (different kinds of face masks, thermometers, etc). The power of play is a child’s work. Sometimes hidden stressors are revealed in the play, helping to identify possible sources of anxiety.

Ideas for supporting children during this uncertain time:

  • Choose your language carefully and with the child in mind. For example, use “uncertain” rather than “scary.” (Use examples of what is certain and what is not, in order to show that uncertain does not mean scary.)
  • Identifying what IS certain.
  • Allow feelings to be fluid. (Rather than “How are you feeling?” offer paper to draw the feelings, or music to play or dance to for expressing feelings.)

Ways we will support social and emotional health:

  • We (Educational Support Teachers Kerry Miller and Neela Bettaglio) will be working in conjunction with class teachers to support the social and emotional health of the children. As needed, we will be available to offer 1:1 sessions. These sessions would be crafted to meet individual needs. This may mean academic support (at school or with Distance Learning) or emotional support sessions. We have a wealth of grounding activities, relaxation techniques, calming tools, as well as the ability to listen (with both ears and hearts) to discern how children are feeling.
  • Monthly Parent Support Circle—please join us! We listen, support, and share ideas, creating a circle of support and trust for our parent body. Our August meetings will address transition ideas for the return to school:
Parent Support Circle
Wednesday, August 19th 1:30 PM
Thursday, August 20th 7:00 PM
(Zoom info available in ParentSquare)

Making a Smooth Transition (Harvard Graduate School of Education)
Return to School During COVID-19 (American Academy of Pediatrics)

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