Getting Ready for School—What Do You Need to do Now to Prepare Your Child for September?

Tim LightmanBy Tim Lightman, Ed.D.

While the last fireworks of the Fourth have barely flamed out, it is not too early to think about getting our youngest children (those entering Pre-Kindergarten through First Grade) ready for the upcoming transition from the lazy, hazy days of summer to the more structured (and potentially stressful) days of school. As a parent, there are many things you can do to ease this transition – for your child and, equally important, for yourself.

Summer schedules are more relaxed and flexible by design. The longer days seem to lead to later bedtimes and summer travel often changes our daily routines. Looking forward to a new school year, particularly for students new to school, it is never too early to begin thinking about how to manage time and routines. It is important to recognize childrens’ need for some ownership (and even control) of the transition so begin a conversation with your child about how routines will change. Give them the opportunity to share their questions and concerns. Remember that children benefit from and learn how to manage themselves through the routines that adults create. [Read more…]

Homework for Parents — Your Child’s Back-To-School Health Checklist

Summer fun is almost over for millions American students.  It’s time to put away the swimsuits, dust off the book bags and head back to school soon.

To ensure that students of all ages go to class in the best possible health, the nation’s emergency physicians advise parents and guardians to do a little homework of their own and go through a back-to-school health check list.

“Nothing is more important than making sure your child’s health is in check,” said Dr. Michael Gerardi, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians.  “Make sure all of the necessary forms and information are organized and easily available to those who need it.”   [Read more…]

The First Question This Teacher Asks Her Kindergarteners Every Morning Is Heartbreaking

About a decade ago, I stood in a high school English classroom, trying my best to give an exciting speech about my experiences as a young reporter. I worked for the local newspaper at the time and the school had invited me and a photographer to give the students a sense of the career opportunities available to them.

The teens all sat politely, if not quite rapt … except for one. He was a short, scrawny kid in an oversized hoodie. I could see him fidget and, worse, heard him mutter the occasional complaint about my presentation. Finally, he seemed to surrender to the fact that yes, I would be there for at least a few more minutes but instead of perking his ears up to listen, he lay his head down on his desk.

His teacher approached him and I expected some form of discipline would ensue. Instead, she gently put her arm around him and said something in a soft voice. I couldn’t make out exactly what it was, but it was clear she wasn’t scolding him — just showing some TLC. I felt mildly annoyed, to say the least. A child was acting rudely during my talk and there’d be no consequence for it?

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Funding Private School Tuition Without the Financial Burden

Kristin ShuffBy Kristin Shuff

It has been said that education is the cornerstone of society and one of the most important investments one can make in a child. A good education can help develop strong values and a love of learning that will ultimately position a child for success later in life. While all parents hope to provide a top-notch education for their child, not all live in an area that offers exceptional public schools.  Frustrated, some parents turn to private and independent schools.

Private schools benefit students by fostering academic excellence and high achievement. According to data from the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), private school students generally perform higher than their public school counterparts on standardized achievement tests and are more likely to have completed advanced level courses. Moreover, 88 percent of private high school students apply to college, compared to just 57 percent of public high school students.

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PA Cyber Junior Wins State, National Grange Honors

When Mark and Lurae Benzio enrolled their daughters Anna and Sara in PA Cyber Charter School seven years ago, they looked around their community for ways to keep the girls socially engaged.

They found the Grange – a fraternal organization for farm and other rural families that dates back to 1867 – and its organization for young people, the Junior Grange.

Once a very shy girl, Anna Benzio, 15, now poised and self-assured, has climbed the rungs in Junior Grange to the very top of the ladder. This past summer, she achieved the highest state honor for girls, the title of Pennsylvania State Junior Grange Princess for 2014-15.

Representing her state in November at the National Grange Convention in Sandusky, Ohio, Anna received the highest national honor given to Junior Grange members: the Super JG Award.

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Schools Shouldn’t Be Cutting Recess But Embracing It

There’s a troubling trend where schools are making their entity an unnecessary bifurcation of classroom versus playground. Some choose to separate learning and play when they are very much an important fusion for a child’s development.

The American Association for the Child’s Right to Play estimates 40 percent of elementary schools have eliminated or cut back recess. Learning and play are like a superhero duo to a child’s development; shun one, and we may have some problems.

“Play is a way to analyze and process what you’ve been learning,” said Adrienne Brown, marketing and events manager at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum. “When you take that element away, you’re pumping kids full of information but don’t give them the time to process and retain it.”

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6 Steps to Take if Your Child Hates School

Jay-F_9b-portraitBy Jay Fitter MFT

Is it normal for a child to come home from school miserable? Or to act deeply unhappy in the morning and drag their feet to the point of almost missing the bus? Or how about a kid who suddenly develops stomachaches in the middle of the school day, and this happens repeatedly?

Some parents would say yes, it’s normal, and simply attribute this behavior to kids’ desire to play, sleep in, socialize, and run free. However, it’s important for parents to respect the fact that the child is trying to communicate something important, albeit in an indirect way.

Perhaps you have a gifted child who is bored at school, or a child who had a scary incident on the bus. Rather than making an assumption or writing it off as normal kid behavior, here are some tips that will help you uncover what’s really going on.

Listen well; don’t dismiss; pay attention.

In general, if a child says I don’t like school, listen to them. They probably have a very legitimate reason for their perspective. This may not seem like a big deal from the parents’ point of view. But the child’s feelings could be the result of a threats from a bully, rejection from a boy or girl, or schoolwork that is either boring or overwhelming. There’s also the possibility that they believe their teacher doesn’t like them.

Remember your own youth.

Try to remember that some of the time, kids won’t tell their parents the real reason, so they make up other excuses. You probably did this yourself. Part of the reason behind this is that children believe parents won’t empathize with them, that they’ll just say to toughen up, or offer another simple solution. Parents need to realize that there was a time when they were kids and may have felt the same way. So, resist making judgments.

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Easing Back-to-School Jitters

mary_jo_rapiniBy Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC

School bells are ringing and kids are everywhere. As you drive slowly through school zones, you can see and feel the excitement in the air. Kids are walking to school, getting out of buses, and being dropped off on the curb. Some of them look excited and are laughing, while others look confused, withdrawn and afraid. Parents have a powerful influence over their child no matter how old their child is in regards to their school-year success. Easing back-to-school jitters is an important step that parents should prepare for and encourage their child to prepare for as well.

School jitters don’t begin the first day of school. Most likely, they were going on during the last third of the summer. Sometimes parents are so busy with work and vacations that many forget to look for the signs. Did your child act more moody, restless, fatigued or erratic? Many kids have these feelings and adjust fine after school has started, but 15% do not. These 15% may have difficulty adjusting to the school year, and may require parental interventions to help them get on track.

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