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Welcome class of 2032!

Across the nation right now there is a new crop of Kindergarten students embarking on their educational careers. This is a time filled with excitement and joy, as well as some nervousness. For parents, the back-to-school excitement sometimes comes with a tinge of sadness too as our little ones are gradually leaving the nest.

In addition to our new Kindergarteners, there are millions of other students preparing to go Back-To-School, gearing up for the new year. Indeed, many are already underway. A new school year means new hopes and new optimism. It means new clothes, new supplies, new backpacks, and looking forward to meeting new friends and new teachers. Children return to school taller and more mature (hopefully) than the previous year. It can also mean new fears and new anxieties – for children and parents alike. No doubt about it, back-to-school brings up a host of emotions.

Excitement & Anxiety

During this time of excitement and anxiety, it’s important to reflect on what school means to you. School often serves as a rite of passage. Whether it’s starting Kindergarten, transitioning to middle school, or thriving in high school, school serves as a common denominator for a majority of us. Whether the school we attended was large or small, public or private, there are still many common experiences (positive and negative) that bind us. Just take a look at all the high school themed movies, tv shows, and books if you doubt this.

These common school experiences shaped who we are as adults. They helped us form bonds that have lasted over the years – especially now that it is so easy to reconnect and keep up with our former childhood peers. This school experience will likewise shape who our children will become too.

Striking a Balance

Being a parent or educator means that we must strike a fine balance. This is especially important during times of high emotion, like back-to-school:Ballerina demonstrating balance.

    •     be nurturing, but not smothering
    •     be protective, but not rescuing
    •     provide guidance, but not rigidity.

These balances are not easy and we will often waiver from one end of the spectrum to the other. But overall, if we provide a safe and loving environment, we know that that will help our children thrive. The good news is that children are naturally resilient. Children are naturally curious and imaginative. They inherently want to succeed. If we create the space to help nurture that intrinsic creativity, that is a gift that will keep on giving.

Taking the Right Steps

Additionally, there are steps we can take when going back-to-school, routines we can establish, and tools we can develop that help create that safe space for success at school and at home. For example, The US Department of Education partnered with Parenting Magazine to provide these 5 tips to kick off the school year on the right foot: 

  1. Reach out to your child’s teachers: Attend meet-the-teacher night, orientation or other welcome events, but don’t stop there. Make a point of introducing yourself and learning about class activities and expectations for the year.
  2. Get in the groove: Establish healthy at-home routines for school days, such as consistent waking times and getting-ready patterns. Decide on a regular homework time, and create a comfortable, quiet workspace.
  3. Time things right: Stay on top of everyone’s school, activity, and work schedules with a free online calendar or a smartphone app.
  4. Pack smart: Make sure your child’s backpack never weighs more than 10 to 20 percent of his or her body weight; heavy packs can strain developing muscles and joints.
  5. Commit to volunteering: With help from parents like you, your school can offer many more programs and services for your kids. Ask about volunteer opportunities in the school community and your children’s classrooms, and check out your school’s parent organization.

So, as we begin the new school year, let us embrace this creative tension between excitement and anxiety, and, let’s give our children the tools to navigate that space in between. We hope that you’ll make DrawnToDiscover a part of this navigation.

Mirror neurons at work in the classroom.

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