Regardless of age, any child who is attending a new school for the first time is apprehensive. They not only do not know any of the other students, they do not know their teachers and do not have a clue regarding the school layout. A parent can do a number of things to help a young child adjust to the situation.
• Determine what kind of transportation is involved
1. If walking is involved, make the trip with your child so they become familiar with the surroundings.
2. Make sure the area is safe for a child to walk alone. If not, introduce him or her to someone you have contacted to accompany them.
• Visit the school
1. When signing registration papers, be sure your child is introduced to the office personnel, including the principal.
2. Walk through the school and visit the classroom or classrooms they will be using.
3. Show them where the bathrooms and lunchroom is located so they can find them easily.
• Visit the teacher
1. If possible, introduce your child to his or her new teacher.
2. Allow him or her to explore the classroom and see where they will be seated.
When the above list is followed, the child will not have that frightened feeling caused by going into unfamiliar surroundings. There is nothing worse than just being thrown into an unknown world (school) where one is unfamiliar with anything related to this new environment.
Unfortunately, older children feel that a parent accompanying them to school is embarrassing. This feeling must be respected, however there are some things that can be done.
• Go online
1. The majority of schools have a website that describes activities and other events in which your child might be interested.
2. Many Junior and High Schools have brochures that can be picked up at the office. These brochures often provide a layout of the school as well as an explanation regarding their rules and regulations.
• Make friends
1. Making friends with someone who already has a child attending the school can go a long way in relieving apprehension the child is experiencing. This is especially effective if it is accomplished prior to the end of the school’s summer recess. They will then have the experience of being with other students who may also be new to the school.
School is a huge experience in a child’s life and, if a feeling of familiarity has been established, it can be an enjoyable experience.