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December 10th

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Education Archives • Upbring

Foster Friday: Establishing Routines for a New School Year

The start of the school year can be overwhelming, especially for a child in foster care who’s adjusting to a new environment. As a foster parent, it’s important that you establish routines that allow the child in your care to feel happy, confident and supported as they navigate through these changes. From starting the morning with a healthy breakfast to ending the night with a bedtime story, each moment throughout the school day has an impact on your child’s emotions. To ensure that the school year is one that creates lasting memories for the child in your care, we recommend establishing these four routines in your household:

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Introduce yourself to your child’s teachers and the school administration

Whether you have several children in the same school, or the child in your care is your first in the district – it’s a good idea to introduce yourself to your child’s teachers and the school administration. Most schools will host a “meet the teacher” night before school begins. This is a great opportunity for both you and your child to meet school staff. When you introduce yourself to your child’s teachers, explain that the child in your care is in the foster system. Share contact information and create an open channel of communication so that both you and school staff feel comfortable contacting the other should a situation (positive or negative) arise. Not only will this make you feel more comfortable, but it will also allow your child to get acclimated to the adults that will inevitably make a lasting impact while they’re in your care.

 

Enroll your child in after school activities

During the school day, your child is engaged in learning. Aside from lunch and recess, there usually isn’t a lot of time for socialization. Your child will inevitably have pent up energy to release at the end of a school day. Take time to get to know the child in your care and enroll them in an after-school activity that aligns with their interests. Dance classes, gymnastics and youth sports leagues are all great ways to burn energy. Art classes, piano lessons or computer coding classes are good for getting creative juices flowing. There are after school activities to fit every family’s budget – you can pay one time or monthly fees for reoccurring classes or sports leagues or find free after school activities in your neighborhood. Talk to parents at your child’s school or in your area to find fun, safe and affordable options.

 

Set aside 10-15 minutes each night to review your child’s homework and answer questions

School can be difficult and overwhelming, especially for a child who is getting used to a new environment and new routine after their world has been shaken up. Set aside time each night to sit down and help your child with their homework. Answer questions, go over notes from class, sign any papers that need to be returned and talk about upcoming tests or projects that require at-home prep. By doing this, you’re creating a meaningful bond that will help the child in your care feel confident when coming to you with problems or questions. It also allows you to feel more prepared and knowledgeable about what’s going on in your child’s school life.

 

Establish a weekly emotional check-in

Most likely, the child in your care has gone through a lot of emotional challenges. Being placed in the foster care system is a lot to process for a child. Adding in a new school, new routine, new friends and new adults to look to for protection and guidance can often be a lot to handle. Sit down weekly with your child to check in on how they’re doing emotionally. It’s important to communicate in a way that is age-appropriate and that works best for them. These check-ins may take time to become fully effective. For the first few weeks, take time to build trust. From there, conversations can become deeper. Throughout each check-in, reassure your child that you see them, you hear them and you’re there to love and care for them.

 

Grade school years are some of the most formative in a child’s life. By creating and implementing these routines, you’re letting the child in your care know that the past hardships and traumas they’ve experienced don’t have to be the norm. Healthy habits, especially those that involve learning, can make a lasting impact on the child in your care. Have you implemented any of these routines? Let us know in the comments below.

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To learn more about how you can become a foster parent, visit Upbring.org/FosterInfo.

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18 Books To Read With Your Child As Summer Comes To An End

As summer begins to fade and the school year quickly approaches, now is the time to begin refreshing the skills your child learned in the classroom last year. Chances are, the summers days were filled with picnics, trips to the water park, cookouts and memories to last a lifetime, but as fewer days stand between now and the first day of school, it’s important to exercise the brain and get your child back into “school mode” little by little. An engaging and creative way to prepare your little one for another year of learning is to simply read! Reading a book allows your child to go on an adventure, explore new lands, learn about new people and create worlds beyond anything he or she could imagine. You can keep your child engaged and make reading even more fun by using voices, acting out the scenes or watching a movie based on the book you’ve just read. There are millions of books out there for your child to discover, but to make it a bit easier we’ve created this list of recommendations, separated by age group, that we think you should add to their reading list:

(BONUS: Books in bold italics are recommendations for children in foster care from our Foster In Texas team.)

 

Infant/Preschool

  • Dream Big, Little One by Vashti Harrison
    • Beautiful illustrations in Vashti Harrison’s book showcase women of color who changed the world and accomplished extraordinary things
  • Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard
    • This comedic picture book features a grumpy little bird who learns to how to giggle his grumpies away
  • Giraffe Problems by Jory John
    • Edward the giraffe discovers how to accept and celebrate one of the physical features he previously tried so hard to hide, his extremely long neck
  • I Need A Hug by Aaron Blabey
    • This sweet story about a tiny porcupine who is looking for a cuddle is sure to warm your heart
  • All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
    • Alexandra Penfold’s story follows a diverse group of children during an average school day who, although they are very different from one another, are welcomed with open arms
  • FOSTER RECOMMENDATION: The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
    • The Kissing Hand tells the story of a young raccoon who is hesitant to leave his mother as he attends his first day of school. His mother shares a family secret that helps the raccoon feel loved even when they’re apart

 

Elementary School

  • The Sun Is Kind of a Big Deal by Nick Seluk
    • Nick Seluk’s comic-style artwork demonstrates all the amazing things that the sun does for our solar system
  • Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel
    • Originally published in 1970, this classic story features best friends Frog and Toad who learn vital lessons about friendship
  • Stuart Little by E.B. White
    • This imaginative classic follows Stuart, a little mouse on a big quest to find a lost friend. The story would be an excellent choice for readers somewhere between chapter books and full-length novels
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
    • In this collection of hilarious poems, Shel Silverstein provides a charming introduction to poetry with detailed drawings that will captivate your child
  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
    • If your young reader is looking for a fantasy series, this would be a great choice as it is the first of seven novels in Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia collection
  • FOSTER RECOMMENDATION: Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw
    • Love You Forever is a beloved children’s book that shares the story of a mother’s love for her child as he grows each and every day

 

Middle School

  • Holes by Louis Sachar
    • Stanley is sent to Camp Green Lake to serve his juvenile detention sentence after he is mistakenly accused of stealing. He soon finds that his job of digging holes each day may not actually be for “building character”
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
    • This story of resilience features Karana, who learns to survive on her own when she is left on a deserted island off the coast of California for eighteen years
  • Wonder by R. J. Palacio
    • Auggie, about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, has never attended a mainstream school before due to a facial deformity. In addition to the hardships that come with being “the new kid,” Auggie must also learn how to make friends and show others that even though he looks a little different, he is just like them
  • Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
    • Leo, the main character in this novel, struggles with peer pressure and must decide whether he will shun Stargirl like the rest of the students at his high school
  • Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins
    • Naima, a Bangladeshi girl whose family has fallen on hard times, challenges the traditional role of women in her village and uses her artistic talents to help provide for her family
  • FOSTER RECOMMENDATION: Far from the Tree by Robin Benway
    • Far from the Tree tells the heartwarming story of three siblings separated within the foster care system and their journey to discovering the true meaning of family

 

By crossing a few of these books off your child’s list, he or she will surely be ready to dive back into learning and all the excitement the new school year will bring. Reading is a great way to spend time together, encourage learning all year long and have fun. Providing opportunities for your child to learn and grow will build a firm foundation of success for years to come. What are some of your favorite books to read with your child? Let us know below in the comments!

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The Three Ts of Successful Test Taking

Along with spring showers and May flowers comes test-taking season at schools around the country. Be it standardized testing or final exams, anxiety runs high. For students in elementary school, this might be their first experience testing while older students may be more seasoned. Whatever stage your child is in, one thing is sure: it’s tough to be tested. A good night’s sleep and a healthy meal are a great way to start, but let’s explore the three T’s that provide children with the support they need during testing season.

 

1. Table

Dinner time is a great way to provide an opportunity for children to process their day. Turning off the TV, silencing devices and sitting down at the table together creates a space for families to debrief. If things are slow to start, go around the table and share a sunshine (a highlight of the day or reason for gratitude) and a cloud (a challenge or time of discouragement.) Consider making the meal special by allowing your child to help plan the menu for the evening. Remember, sitting in silence is okay too. The act of being together is often enough to help your child feel loved and encouraged.

 

2. Thoughts

Learning to self-regulate during stressful events is just as important as being tested for knowledge. Identifying the physical responses to stress is a great way to start. That might sound like, “When you take your spelling test, where do you feel nervous?” Getting children to identify where they feel nervous (in their stomach, throat, hands, feet, etc.) is very helpful. It might take an example to help them understand such as, “When I’m nervous, I feel it in my stomach.  It feels like butterflies are flying around in there.” Let them know that when feelings of stress arise, they can respond with self-soothing techniques. Breathing techniques are effective and produce fast results. Some examples include:

  • Pretend to blow a bubble.
  • Pretend to smell a rose with a deep breath in and a slow breath out.
  • Breath in through your nose and fill up your lungs. Breath out through your mouth until your lungs are empty.
  • Practice boxed breathing – inhale for four seconds, hold for four seconds, exhale for four seconds, hold for four seconds, then repeat the process from the beginning.

 

3. Talk

Whether your child comes home confident in their performance or discouraged, filling their brain with encouraging phrases is helpful for modeling positive self-talk. This might include phrases such as:

  • I knew you could do it!
  • You can do hard things.
  • I can see you tried hard.
  • I’m so proud of you!
  • You amaze me!
  • You are learning and growing.
  • I see you working and learning every day.
  • Look how far you’ve come!

 

Seeing your child under any amount of stress can be difficult. By creating a safe place to debrief, teaching calming techniques and using the power of words to build self-esteem, we can provide a supportive environment for children to thrive. Happy testing!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Audrey Walker has served in a variety of early childhood and primary school settings for the past twelve years and has a deep passion for promoting the potential of all children. She earned her Bachelor’s of Arts in Education from Concordia University Texas in 2009 and her Master’s of Arts in Education from Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Missouri in 2011 with an emphasis in gifted education. She is proud to be a Texas certified teacher (ece-4th grade).  

As Campus Administrator, she is committed to the USAS teaching philosophy to provide academic excellence in a Christian environment, working with families and teachers to discover and develop each child’s unique gifts to their full potential. Her daily motivation is to see that every child is deeply valued, respected, and encouraged to become a life-long learner by finding joy in coming to school. A highlight of her job is seeing teachers and staff igniting children’s imaginations, provoking ideas, and encouraging problem-solving skills based on each child’s interests. 

 Audrey and her husband, Andrew, have three children, Lydia, August, and Lucas.  They enjoy the simple things in life right now, going to the park, movie nights, reading, and all things Lego related.  

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Helping Your Children Stay Engaged During the Final Weeks of School

Once spring break has passed, the close of the school year becomes the focus. The students can seemingly sense that the end is at hand. Parents and educators all agree that children’s behavior changes as the temperatures rise and the days get longer. What can be done to keep students focused on learning? How can they be convinced to finish the school year strong?

 

Here are a few strategies that might help with the battle against spring fever.


1.  Remind your child that your expectations have not changed with the weather. You expect the same quality of work that was expected during the rest of the school year. You might even need to put these expectations/goals in writing and display them for reference as needed.

 

2.  Be sure to model the behaviors you expect from your child. Maintain your regular work schedule and stress that school responsibilities must be met before fun activities take place.

 

3.  In many families, it is helpful to create a checklist of tasks that must be finished before playtime can happen. This can be done on a weekly or daily basis. The sooner work and responsibilities are taken care of – the sooner the fun can begin.

 

4.  Burning off some excess energy by playing outside for a short time when you first get home is not a bad thing. Many people (not just children) need to have some physical activity in order to improve their focus when they sit down to get to a task. Allowing for a “brief” playtime might also score you some points with your child. Flexibility is frequently a good thing to model. The important thing to learn is that the responsibilities do not actually go away; they are simply delayed.

 

5.  Sleep hours need to be consistent. It is not unusual for children to want to stay up later once the clocks have changed.  It really does look like they are being forced to bed early when there is still daylight outside. Always refer to the actual time on the clock and the number of sleep-hours needed for success in the upcoming day. Numbers don’t lie – even though the sky may seem to be doing so.

 

6.  Allow for some extra-educational outdoor fun. Use special opportunities that become available with the warmer weather as goals during the week. Then, over the weekend, go to the local zoo, arboretum, or relax with a lakeside picnic and some fishing. There is so much to be learned through activities like these, and they are so much fun. They also allow for great memories to be made.

 

In all honesty, it is not just children who struggle as the weather improves and the days lengthen. Many adults are challenged by the same distractions. Working with your children on staying focused and forcing yourself to be a good role-model may prove helpful for you as well.  Summer break will be here before you know it!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brenda Burdick was born and raised in Texas. She graduated from Houston Baptist University with her undergraduate degree and the University of North Texas with her graduate degree. She spent 10 years of her career as an educator in public schools and 20 years in Lutheran schools in various roles including teacher, marketing and admissions director, curriculum specialist, assistant principal, and principal. Currently, Brenda is the Director of Christian School Expansion and Operations at Upbring.

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Dr. DeGarmo’s Classroom Tips

Education is one of five key markers of every child’s success. Sadly, only 50 percent of children in foster care graduate high school, and a mere 3 percent earn a college degree.

As a doctor in education, former teacher and longtime foster parent, Dr. John DeGarmo, director of The Foster Care Institute, knows that the trauma associated with abuse and neglect compromises children’s classroom success. He also knows foster parents can serve as powerful advocates for the children in their care, ensuring they get the best education possible.

As a primer for this week’s free Foster from the Heart conference, Dr. DeGarmo offers these five tips foster parents can follow to help their children build brighter futures through education.

 

Build positive relationships with school staff

It is essential that you remain up-to-date on your child’s progress, academically and behaviorally. Nowadays, there are so many ways to stay in touch, including phone calls, text messages, email, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms. Make sure counselors, teachers and administrators know they can always contact you to discuss your child’s education. Similarly, reach out to them and ask for as much information and as many updates as possible.

Advocate for your child

The more interested and involved you are in your child’s academic life, the more likely they are to thrive. Consider volunteering as a classroom assistant, playground monitor or field trip chaperone. Or, perhaps you could leverage your talents by leading an art project, building theatrical production sets or speaking during career day.

At home, help your child complete their homework and study for tests

Remember that children in foster care, like all children, can never read too much. Take time every day to read to younger children or listen to older children read to you from a book they choose. Quite simply, be an advocate for your child’s education.

Encourage participation outside the classroom

You can help foster your child’s growth by encouraging her to participate in activities outside the classroom such as sports, music and clubs. Studies show that children who participate in extracurricular activities make better grades, maintain more positive attitudes toward school and aspire to greater academic heights. In addition, your child will have the opportunity to build self-esteem, make friends, discover new interests and develop life skills such as teamwork and time management.

Set goals, celebrate success

School work typically does not come easily for children in foster care, who tend to perform below grade-level behaviorally and academically, particularly in math and reading. Work with your child’s teachers to identify accommodations that need to be made and to set realistic goals for your child. In addition, talk to your child about setting their own goals. Perhaps most importantly, celebrate every success, no matter how small.

 

You’re invited!

Upbring invites you to meet Dr. DeGarmo and hear more about his experiences during the Foster from the Heart Conference in San Antonio on October 20. The conference is open to foster and adoptive parents, social workers, counselors, child protection staff, educators and anyone else interested in child welfare. Limited seats for the free event are still available, so register today. We hope to see you there!

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7 Ways to Help Your Child Enjoy Reading

As a reader, I have traveled the world, met famous artists, explored space and solved mysteries – without ever leaving my living room. As an author, I have used stories to encourage and inspire women around the world. Books can take us on amazing adventures, teach us about new people and ways of life, and encourage us through some of life’s hardest moments.

 

Although I’ve always loved reading (and almost always had a book with me as a child), my daughter prefers math because it comes more easily to her. There is something about two plus two always equaling four that gives her confidence, and she spends as much time figuring out math facts as she does creating art projects.

 

So, we’ve been creating fun (and sometimes funny) math word problems for her to read and solve. As she draws silly pictures to figure out the equations, she’s learning how reading, math and art can all work together.

 

If you have a reluctant reader in your home, try these ideas to encourage him or her to become a lifelong lover of the written word.

 

Read aloud to your child every day. Whether you read together at bedtime or do story time in the morning, reading to your child, no matter their age, can help them enjoy reading.

 

When children listen to great stories, they’re exposed to new vocabulary and grammar principles. But even more importantly, they begin to see how words construct meaning in the world around us. Whether students arrive in the classroom unable to read the alphabet or already reading chapter books, reading aloud offers the opportunity to capture their imaginations and introduce them to quality fiction and nonfiction. – We Are Teachers

 

BONUS: Borrow audiobooks from the library to listen to in the car instead of watching shows on a mobile device. Escape from Mr. Limoncello’s Library is one the whole family can enjoy – and it’s about books!

 

Think outside the book. Pick a kid-friendly cookbook or find a recipe online and work with your child to make the dish. They can practice reading (and math!) as they give you instructions and enjoy the delicious results. Traveling somewhere new on vacation? Why not head to the library or your local travel agency and find some books about your destination. Consider allowing your child to plan a small part of your trip so they can see how reading and planning can result in an amazing adventure.

 

Show them their progress. Create a fun sticker chart that shows your child how many minutes they’ve spent reading. Consider adding an incentive, like seeing the movie version of the book they’re reading, going to the park or taking a special trip to the bookstore.

 

Play games to encourage reading. I learned how to read by doing word searches with my grandfather. He read the word to me, and I matched the letters. Play games like “Swat a Sight Word” or “Sight Word Bingo” with younger readers to make learning to read fun. For older readers, consider “Boggle,” “Scrabble” or “Googly Eyes” to challenge their spelling, reading and creative skills.

 

Visit your local library. Librarians are incredible resources for communities, and they’re great at recommending the perfect books for young readers. Tell your librarian about the activities, books and movies your child enjoys. From graphic novels to non-fiction books and everything in between, your librarian can help readers fall in love with books by connecting reading with things they already love.

 

BONUS: If your reader enjoys non-fiction books, try the “Who Was” series. Then, go to Netflix and watch the episodes that match each book in the series when they’re done! Amelia Earhart is a favorite in our house.

 

Make screen time work for you. With more access to technology than any generation before them, today’s children are easily able to navigate computers, tablets and smartphones. Using apps like Epic, Bob Books, Mad Libs and Word Bingo gives parents a chance to connect reading with a tool their kids already love. Check out this list of other reading apps for kids of all ages.

 

Start a kid-friendly book club. Adults know how fun it can be to read a book with friends and then meet to talk about it. Why not include the kids? Invite 3 or 4 families with children of similar ages to read a book together and meet twice a month for a “Book Brunch.” Kids can snack on donut holes and fruit while they chat about their favorite parts of the book and their favorite characters. If a parent in the group enjoys crafts, consider doing a themed art project together. At the end of each meeting, choose a new book and decide on the next day/time/place to meet.

 

Finally, don’t forget to offer encouragement! Whether your child reads one page or an entire book, make sure they know you see the effort they’ve made and that you’re proud of them. A teacher’s praise gave me the dream to become an author. Your words today might offer the hope of a bright, exciting future your child has only just started to dream about.

 

Our mission at work

Upbring’s research has identified education as one of five key markers of every child’s well-being, and it is woven into all our programs.

Whether they are preparing to start kindergarten, making up lost ground in the classroom or taking their first steps toward independence, we believe in every child, and we give them every opportunity to shine.

 

 

About the Author: Crystal Stine has lived almost her entire life in a small town in PA and is married to her high school sweetheart. Her passion is encouraging, equipping and inspiring women of all ages to embrace a work hard, rest well lifestyle that honors God – so they can work without shame and rest without guilt. An author and speaker, her first book, “Holy Hustle: Embracing a Work Hard, Rest Well Lifestyle” released June 5, and her message has reached more than 20,000 people through her 10 Day devotional on YouVersion and countless others through podcasts, radio interviews, and national and international magazines. Crystal and Matt have a 6-year-old daughter, Madison, and when she’s not working as the communications director at her church, Crystal enjoys being a soccer mom – who only occasionally gets shushed for her sideline enthusiasm.

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10 Easy, Nutritious School Lunches for Busy Parents

Back-to-school means back to early morning alarms, scrambling to find missing shoes, making sure all the homework and important papers are back in their folders and hurrying to drink a cup of coffee while asking your kids for the eighth time if they’ve brushed their teeth.

 

That doesn’t leave much time for packing a nutritious lunch your kids will love. If you want to make mornings run more smoothly and prepare your kids to tackle the day with plenty of energy and focus, try these 10 easy, nutritious, kid-friendly lunches.

 

1. Tortilla roll-ups

Fill a wheat tortilla with peanut butter and jelly, ham and cheese or any filling your kids love. From there, roll the tortilla, slice it into pinwheels and secure it with toothpicks, and you have an easy lunch on-the-go. Grab some spinach or tomato wraps to add color – and to sneak a bit of veggie in there, too!

 

2. Pizza pieces

Instead of a foil-wrapped slice of leftover pizza, go the deconstructed route. Put turkey pepperoni, reduced-fat cheese slices and crackers into a container. Add a little sauce in a small, plastic to-go cup for dipping, and you have a fun, interactive lunch.

 

3. Simple sandwiches

Sometimes, simple is best, which means your child’s favorite sandwich might be exactly what they like best. Put a twist on it by cutting it into a fun shape like a star or butterfly for a surprise in your little one’s lunchbox. Add apple slices, a string cheese and a small bottle of water for a lunch that is sure to satisfy.

 

4. Turkey, apple and cheese roll-ups

Looking for an alternative to the simple sandwich? Take a piece of thick turkey and place a slice of apple and a slice of cheese in the middle. Fold it over like a burrito, and you’re ready to go!

 

5. Hummus & pita plate

Slice pita bread into triangles, add your child’s favorite veggies and some hummus (which comes in a huge variety of flavors) for a filling lunch that is packed full of protein, fiber, iron and B vitamins.

 

6. Chicken noodle soup

This classic, easy-to-make soup is a crowd favorite. Whether canned or homemade, it’s sure to be a hit with your little one. Pour it in a thermos so it’s served up warm at lunchtime. Include saltine crackers for extra flavor.

 

7. Apple & peanut butter sandwiches

Spread peanut butter on apple slices and stick them together for a yummy snack that’s high in protein and provides a serving of fruit.

 

8. Tortilla soup

A simple crock-pot recipe can provide lunch for the entire week. Add chicken, chicken broth, corn, black beans, salsa and seasoning, and you’ve got a tasty lunch alternative. Pour soup into a thermos to ensure it stays warm until lunchtime.

 

9. Veggie taco salad

Shred some lettuce, slice a tomato, add corn, black beans and avocado, and you’ve got a bold and delicious lunch that fits easily in a Tupperware container. Add corn chips and a cup of dressing for a touch of Southwestern flavor!

 

10. Don’t forget the snacks

A nutritious snack can be the best defense against the dreaded mid-afternoon slump. Stock up on pretzels, fruit, trail mix and small treats for kids’ lunchboxes.

 

Our mission at work

Upbring believes every child deserves the chance to shine through the power of education. We also know that children, like adults, have a difficult time concentrating when they’re not getting enough nourishment.

Through Upbring education programs, we ensure the children we serve receive nutritious meals every day. Without worrying about their growling stomachs, children can focus on learning English, math and science, as well as building important life skills.

Through our continuum of care, we surround children with services that meet their needs in five key areas.

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5 Tips for a Smooth Start to the School Year

As a child, I wasn’t thrilled when the end of summer vacation ushered in earlier bedtimes, earlier wake-up times and, of course, homework. I also remember experiencing anxiety over who my teachers would be and whether I would know anyone in my classes.

But a new school year also meant the chance to catch up with friends and do one of my favorite things: shopping for school supplies, which I enjoyed doing with my own children when they were in school. Your child might have the same mixed feelings about the start of the school year.

 

Here are five simple tips to help your child easily transition back to school.

 

1. Get excited!

You are your child’s most important teacher. If you’re not excited about school, they probably won’t be either. Share fun memories from your teachers and classmates. Talk about one of your family’s back-to-school traditions. Maybe you can share this tradition or start a new one.

 

2. Ease their nerves.

It is completely normal for your child to have jumbled-up emotions about going back to school. You can ease their nerves by arranging a visit to the school. Show them their new classroom and let them meet their teacher.

 

3. Go shopping together.

Allow your child to choose some school supplies on their own. A Disney backpack or a superhero lunch box can go a long way toward making them feel comfortable and confident.

 

4. Establish a routine.

Inclement weather. Traffic jams. Faulty alarm clocks. A solid routine is your best defense against the stress that comes with running behind. Figure out what time everyone needs to get up, eat breakfast, brush their teeth and get dressed. Identify the most efficient route to school, and consider alternate routes in case you need them.

 

5. Make the first morning memorable.

If you’ve followed the first four tips, you can rest easy knowing your child is prepared to start the school year. All that’s left now is to make that first morning memorable. Have breakfast together. Chat. Smile. Pray together about the year, for the friends they’ll make and for their teachers. Speak encouragement over your child, reminding them that they are brave, kind and loved. If this is your child’s first year in school, it’s okay to cry. Just save the tears until you get back in your car!

 

About the Author

Brenda Burdick has 33 years’ education experience. She spent 15 years molding young minds as a teacher for grades one through eight and as a lead English teacher in middle school. She also brings 22 years’ administrative experience as an assistant principal, principal, director of curriculum and director of admissions. Today, Brenda serves as Director of Christian School Expansion and Ops at Upbring. She and her teams at Upbring School of Arts and Sciences Central Austin and Upbring School of Discovery and Leadership are excited to welcome students back to school!

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