By Michael Scott, Director of Teaching and Learning
In less than a week, staff at Hutchinson Public Schools will be welcoming students back to school, following a previous school year of educational stress and uncertainty due to Covid-19. Our staff have been working on final preparations for the upcoming year during new teacher workshop week August 16-20 and our all staff workshop week August 23-27. I am seeing a growing hopefulness that this upcoming school year is much different from last year but also caution in what the year may bring.
We realize as students return to a new school year, their stress may continue to be heightened. After reading many recently published articles that provide suggestions for supporting children through the stresses brought about by the changes and disruptions from the Covid-19 pandemic, it doesn’t take long to notice that many of the tips and strategies offered are very familiar. Many are the same positive, effective suggestions that existed before Covid-19 entered as a factor in our children’s everyday lives.
Establishing routines for your child at home can provide structure, predictability, and consistency. Packing backpacks the night before school, determining a time each night for your child to complete school work, and consistently talking with your child about their school day are simple examples of routines parents can provide.
In addition, assist your child to focus on the positive aspects of returning to school instead of the areas of worry. Ask them what they are excited about as they return to school, what their hopes are for the upcoming year, and what goals they may want to achieve. Discuss any concerns they may have to work together to problem solve.
Another routine to restore from summer vacation is expectations of when your child should get to bed at night. Research has shown overwhelmingly that children need adequate sleep time (no fewer than 9 hours a day for elementary and middle school aged students and no fewer than 8 hours a day for high school aged students), miss no more than 10 percent of the number of school days (no more than 6 days a trimester for Hutchinson Public School students), and have time daily to connect with their parents about their school day. Focus on asking your children what they “learned” in school instead of what they “did” in school.
Our hope is this year has fewer uncertainties and disruptions to your child’s education and routines. No matter the reason for your child to potentially be approaching the start of the school year with feelings of uncertainty, our staff are here to support your child’s education and social-emotional wellbeing. Never hesitate to contact your child’s school with questions or need for support.