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Preparing For Primary & Secondary School

Quell the first-day jitters with these sensible school survival tips.

49294202 - from behind four elementary school students to the show of hands in class

Primary School

Academic Skills
It’s hard to quantify what “sufficient” means in relation to primary school preparation, but a competent reader will be likely to thrive in any school system. Ultimately, parents’ values and beliefs about education should dictate the school preparation process, but you can refer to our guides if you need advice or direction.

Organisation Skills
June, a mother of three and childhood educator in training, feels it’s essential to help schoolgoing children develop organisation skills so they can better manage their time, money, and personal responsibilities. She recommends making a simple to-do chart to help your child visualise the daily tasks that need to be completed.

Life Skills
Are your children able to ask permission to visit the washroom? Can they buy their own food? Do they realise they will need to relay information from the school to you, the parent? Do they know how to look after their belongings? Are they prepared to handle bullies? Are they aware of what constitutes sexual abuse or harassment?

Money Skills
A local mom’s method of using dollar-store pillboxes to help her children manage their daily allowances was a hit when she first published her post back in 2014. It’s an effective way of helping children to save and put aside money for donations too, and you can upgrade to a small set of drawers when they’re old enough for weekly allowances.

Back-To-School Shopping
Personalised name labels are popular with local parents, with some generous parents even including them as goodie bag stuffers for the entire class. Read others’ shopping lists, but be mindful that lists are subjective. It is possible to get through the school year with one pair of school shoes, although depending on the quality of the shoes, they may fall apart after a semester. Some parents feel it’s necessary to label uniforms, socks, and shoes, while others label only the shoes. Ergonomic bags may not be necessary if most schoolbooks can be stowed under a classroom desk, or if your child will be ferried home by car or private bus. The most sensible way to approach school supplies is to buy only what you’re certain your child will need; you can stock up on additional supplies along the way.  

Secondary School

What To Expect
Seek out personal stories as they may help provide a framework for assessing your child’s secondary school, so you can find ways to supplement your child’s learning and exposure in the areas that may be lacking. .

Parenting Your Teen
“Parenting an early teen is a lot like parenting a toddler,” says child psychologist, author, and mother Laura Markham, who doles out solutions to parenting conundrums on her web site Aha! Parenting. Find out how to stay connected and maintain a peaceful relationship with your early teen on her web site.

Growth Mindset
Chances are, your children’s grades will slip as they acclimate to their new school environment, as well as to the increase in subject load and depth of coverage. This is why a growth mindset is important—students need confidence and motivation in order to view setbacks and challenges as learning opportunities.

Goal Setting
Goals are mere daydreams unless they are supported by action plans. Work with your children to set targets, and help them to identify the concrete steps that they will need to take in order to achieve results.

Study Skills
Now’s the time to help your child develop skills that will ease their transition into tertiary education. First and foremost, healthy habits such as getting ample sleep should never be compromised. Next, learn about a textbook reading strategy called SQ4R, and about effective note taking.

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