We moved from Alberta to BC in July, 2014. In hindsight we should have planned to move during the school year so that my daughter had the opportunity to meet new friends and be thrown into school routine right away. Yes, it would have been difficult for her, but so has having no friends from school for three months. We worked through the summer to prep her for this new school and here are the Top Five “back to school as the new kid” ideas that we worked on:
1. Contact the school and arrange to have a tour and get to know some of the staff ahead of the school year. We were on track to do this (until the teachers’ strike occurred) and while we were not able to have a tour of the inside, the principal and an administrator both were in contact with us and provided some helpful an answers and information about the school. I also contacted the Parent Council (also known as PAC, or PTA). They provided some helpful information as well. Every piece of information is valuable.
2. Practice the route to school. Like any back-to-schooler, it’s important to investigate how to get to school and route options. We transitioned from a school bus route to getting there in a self-propelled manner. Transportation of choice, at least for the fall, is by bicycle. The bike was tuned up, bike lock found, and routes were planned. Before it gets too cold to ride a bike to school we’ll practice the city bus and walking route as well.
3. Investigate and join some activities with kids of the same age. We signed my daughter up for Girl Guides that meet in our area. Guides met before classes began, so meeting kids from her school there has been a great boost to the first day of school comfort level. Every new connection will help on the first day.
4. Review all the documents and information on your school and school district website, and share with your new student. It’s surprising what small facts will ease some of the nervousness. It could be knowing the bell schedule, or what grades participate in which sports, or even what special events are planne; something in the information will be familiar to your student.
5. Plan to attend the first day of school. This is a tricky one for many parents as lots of us have to work full time.
There we go – now we wait until the first day is officially here to see how well we have prepared our student for her first day as a new kid!