6 New School Year Resolutions
The new school year is upon us. With a lot to think about, now is the moment to form good habits.
Using expertise from across Third Space Learning, we have put together the suggestions below to help guide you at this pivotal moment. Let’s get started…
#1 Know that each year is a new year
Remember to have a fresh perspective going into the new year. Last year was last year. This year is this year.
On occasion, children don’t allow themselves the fresh start that the new school year brings. If last year was successful, then great!
But if it wasn’t so good – help them focus on improving this year. If you’re a parent, consider a little bit of home learning ahead of the start of the year, or even just talking through your child’s anxieties and worries about the year to come.
#2 Maintain or establish a reading routine
As you may already know, research shows that reading for pleasure is beneficial in many ways. Being important for both educational and personal development, encouraging your students or child to engage with books is one of the most important things you can do.
Those children who read for pleasure are more likely to enjoy learning and succeed in school. Surprisingly, it is even more important in indicating success than factors such as family socioeconomic status; often seen as having the greatest influence.
To start, as a parent you could maintain or implement a daily reading routine at home. The rhythm of this will help build momentum and increase the likelihood of your child viewing books in a positive light. It might be difficult to stick to, but it will be worth it in the end!
#3 Help your child to reflect
You are probably in the habit of asking children to think about their day. However, one of your new school year resolutions could be to have a weekly slot designated to reflection with your child or your students.
Even a relatively simple question such as asking your child to summarize what they have learned this week will get their brain working. This will encourage them to evaluate the information they have gathered and make decisions about what is important. To encourage further reflection, you could use the below questions:
- What has brought you joy in the past week?
- What difficulties have you come across?
- Have you learned anything about yourself?
- If you were to grade your attitude, how would you rate yourself?
This sort of questioning will help your child to probe their experiences. Importantly, they will be encouraged to recall facts in an environment in which they did not originally learn them. This will help consolidate what they have learned and improve their memory.
#4 Reward attitude, not perfection
Highlighting the effort that your child puts in rather than focusing on ‘correct answers’ will encourage your child to adopt a growth mindset.
We know that a child believing their ‘intelligence can be changed’ is a key indicator of success in school. To help embed this view, praising them for their determination and perseverance is a step in the right direction.
It means using phrases like ‘thank you for your effort’ rather than ‘well done for getting all the correct answers.’ With consistency, they will start to view challenges as exciting opportunities – key to building the resilience required for later life.
Carol Dweck talks more about the power of a growth mindset and its link to a healthy attitude towards learning here:
#5 Create a comfortable working environment
Over summer vacation, it’s easy for working surfaces to become consumed by the trappings of holiday fun.
In order to start the new school year off on a productive foot, make sure that they are cleared soon. This will remove one of the barriers to homework, allowing your child to get on with what is most important.
Of equal importance to a comfortable working environment is removing any potential distractions. Screens should be your main target here. Screen time for kids can be positive, but not if it is distracting your child from school-related activities.
You might consider using some home learning resources to ease the transition from ‘vacation’ to ‘school’, introducing bits of work in an enjoyable manner so children don’t feel the change has been abrupt.
#6 Show your child you are there for them
Despite us encouraging you to take an active role in your child’s development, we don’t want you to overload them!
We know there is a fine line between support and creating unnecessary stress. It’s certainly easier said than done, but in this age of continuous testing, we need to be even more aware of our children’s mental wellbeing. While encouraging them, let them know you are there for them regardless of what happens in school.
To help them relax into the new school year, you could practice relaxation techniques. This could involve breathing calmly through structured meditation or something more informal like a few jokes to help take care of their fears.
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The content in this article was originally written by primary school teacher Sophie Bartlett and has since been revised and adapted for US schools by elementary math teacher Katie Keeton.