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Back To School: Tips From A Schoolteacher 

Back to school time can be a challenge. Convincing kids on early mornings and maths lessons isn’t easy at the best of times, but especially so when the memories of sunshine and ice cream are still at the forefront of their mind. And whilst sometimes you’re glad to have the kids taken off your hands by a trusty teacher, a part of you wants the summer with your little ones to last just that little bit longer. 

It can be easy to lose sight of what’s important in the back to school rush. Never fear, school teacher Marie is here to answer your questions and help you and your child make the most of the new school year. Discover her tips and tricks for a smooth return to school!

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It can be hard to get back into the school routine after such a long holiday. What advice do you have for getting back into the swing of things?

If your child is returning to school you can slowly go back to the previous year's notebooks to help them remember the key concepts they have learned and to offer them a little revision. Encourage your child to read their favourite books or offer them some fun maths and writing exercises. 

Finally, re-establish the rituals you had before the holidays by going back to the same shower, meal and bedtimes.

back to school tips

My child is nervous about going to school. What advice do you have to calm their fears?

You can read books together about school and the start of the new school year. In this way, you can encourage them to express, discuss and challenge their fears and apprehensions and slowly reframe this change as a positive event. You can also suggest small meditation exercises; YouTube is full of yoga and mindfulness videos for children.

back to school tips

Starting primary school is a turning point for children. How can we, as parents, help them to approach this crucial stage in their school life with confidence?

Encourage your child to express their emotions. Talk to them about their fears and apprehensions, but also about all the interesting things they will learn during the school year and the exciting friendships they will make with other children. 

Also get your child used to doing things independently, by giving them small tasks to do or new responsibilities, such as getting dressed or going to the toilet without help.

Motor skills are also a key skill to develop before entering primary school. You can help your child improve motor skills by taking them to the park to climb, run, or play ball games. But it's not just about movement skills; fine motor skills are also acquired through creative activities such as drawing, crafting and handwriting.  You can also introduce them to reading little by little. A bedtime story or reading a children's magazine is an excellent way of enriching their vocabulary.

Finally, once the school day is over, ask them to tell you about it. Don't ask too many questions (sometimes children just don't remember every little thing) but demonstrate an openness to discuss their day and your interest in their thoughts and feelings about it.

back to school tips 

What advice would you give to parents about homework?

If this is the first time your child is receiving homework, don't hesitate to ask the teacher what their expectations are for homework and if they have any tips for making homework time more fun. 

In any case, don't spend too much time on it. Do a little bit every day, or a little more at the weekend when you have more time to do it.  Finally, try to establish a reading routine of 5-10 minutes a day so that it becomes a habit. 

back to school tips 

And to avoid the usual "I don't want to do my homework" crisis, do you have any tips?

I know it's easier said than done, but try to make homework fun by making it a game or a challenge. For example, you can teach your child the times tables by singing or by challenging them to solve as many as possible in a given time.

On the other hand, let your child do their homework in a place of their choice, preferably in a quiet place, and do not force them to do it on a table. You can read on the couch or learn poetry sitting on the floor.

What do you think are the main benefits of arts and crafts for basic learning (fine motor skills, language, etc.) in children?

The benefits of creative arts for children are numerous! Activities such as origami and jigsaw puzzles help them to learn about colours and shapes. Using their hands to create something helps to develop fine motor skills and coordination, which are essential skills when it comes to tying shoes or getting dressed on their own.

Activities such as drawing or painting, where children have to draw shapes and lines, are perfect for further improving their fine motor skills.

In addition, the use of different techniques (drawing, painting, sculpting, etc.) and materials (glue, paper, pipe cleaners, etc.) contributes to children's language development. The more varied the activities, the more their creativity and imagination are stimulated. As a result, they tend to express their feelings more, to tell what they are doing, to explain their ideas, which leads them to use more vocabulary and different tenses (past tense, conditional, etc.). 

Finally, let's not forget the benefits of creative arts on children's ability to think, to find solutions when they are faced with a problem. For example, “I don't have any green paint… What if I mixed the colours to see what happens?”

What are your tips for making learning to read and write more fun at home?

In our daily lives, everything is an excuse to read (billboards, cereal packaging, game instructions, recipes, etc.), words really are everywhere! Encourage your child to read all those little bits of text that we see in our daily lives; it's a fun way to work on reading without making them feel like they're doing their homework.

Once your child is a more confident reader, let them choose their favourite reading material.

When learning to write, you can use different tools to make the exercise more enjoyable, such as colour or glitter pens, paint, chalk, etc. When your child reaches a more advanced writing level, play writing games such as fortune tellers, or ask them to write the shopping list. In any case, don't be afraid to use different techniques and have fun!

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