This year, establish a culture of excitement about the start of school.
So much of our culture is focused around lamenting school. Television advertisements celebrate the liberation of parents based on the start of the school year. Children are taught to dread Mondays and love Fridays. I agree that back-to-school is the most wonderful time of the year, but not because I finally get rid of my kids:
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School is an opportunity for our children to work collaboratively to solve problems, engage with challenging ideas and information and question all the things they believe they (and their teachers) know.
Kids sometimes have a natural aversion to challenges, especially if they are not taught a skill set of how to approach a difficult, new situation. They like to feel comfortable and feel in charge. Newness can be disconcerting for all of us. Before school starts this year, try asking your child about what he is anticipating at the start of school. If you sense some anxiety, ask your child what she is worried about and then turn that concern in to an opportunity. Children are yearning to be taught and open to new ideas and new approaches.
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Stay positive and help your child to be positive through his mindset and approach to novel situations.
There is a lot of buzz around the concept of student engagement, but we—parents and teachers, alike—can’t simply require that our children be engaged. Like any other skill, our students have to be taught how to engage with the material and situations they are presented.
Celebrate the wonderful opportunities school brings with and for your children, and they are bound to be positive, engaged and excited about the 1st day of school, and all of the days thereafter.
Article By Ms. Anna Mahon
Anna Mahon is entering her 2nd year as Principal of Amity Regional High school. She has been a member of the ARHS since 2000 as English teacher, English Department Chair and Associate Principal. She is a former elite-level athlete in Track and field and former national champion and 2004 Olympic Hammer Thrower. She is the mother of two elementary school children and comes from a family of educators, including her husband, mother and parent-in-law.
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