Dear Book Lovers, Welcome! I am delighted that you have found The Through the Looking Glass blog. For over twenty years I reviewed children's literature titles for my online journal, which came out six times a year. Every book review written for that publication can be found on the Through the Looking Glass website (the link is below). I am now moving in a different direction, though the columns that I write are still book-centric. Instead of writing reviews, I'm offering you columns on topics that have been inspired by wonderful books that I have read. I tell you about the books in question, and describe how they have have impacted me. This may sound peculiar to some of you, but the books that I tend to choose are ones that resonate with me on some level. Therefore, when I read the last page and close the covers, I am not quite the same person that I was when first I started reading the book. The shift in my perspective might be miniscule, but it is still there. The books I am looking are both about adult and children's titles. Some of the children's titles will appeal to adults, while others will not. Some of the adult titles will appeal to younger readers, particularly those who are eager to expand their horizons.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back to school tips from Barefoot Books

Packing Backpack, Lunchbox, and Confidence: Tips for Sending Children Off to School

It happens every autumn. Millions of young children start school for the very first time. They carry backpacks, lunchboxes, pencils, sometimes a grin on their face, but more often, a look of trepidation about what school will really be like. They wonder: Will my teacher be nice? Will I have friends? What if I can’t find my way? Who will sit with me? What will I do? What if I don’t like it? What if I miss home? What if it’s too hard?

As parents guiding our children off to start school for the first time, or to begin a new school year, we want to do all we can to ensure that they have a great experience. At the same time, we want to encourage their independence as they set off on a new journey in their development.

Kathryn White, author of Ruby's School Walk, early educator and mom of five children, shared her tips to ease children's start-of-school anxiety and make this an enjoyable milestone: 

  • Read with your child and talk about the school experience. Share with them stories about your memories of school, both the good and the less so. School is an adventure, and like all adventures, it has its ups and downs.

  • Help spark your child’s imaginations about school to encourage them to talk about their concerns and face their fears. You can do this through stories, books, drawings and other art forms. Ask them questions such as what they think school will be like, what they are excited about and worried about, what they think they will learn, etc. These conversations can also be had with grandparents and other favorite people in your child’s life.

  • Build a community in your neighborhood. It is amazing what a familiar and friendly face can do to help a child overcome their fears about going to school. As your family journeys to school each day you might see this friendly neighbor, or only see them occasionally, but it will help your child feel comfortable and safe on their trip to school.

  • Sit down together and create a fun map to school. Note interesting landmarks and have your child color them in or place numbers at each point. On that first morning to school, your child will be preoccupied with checking off the landmarks on their special map. The school can be drawn with welcome signs, making it a great triumph upon their arrival.

  • Walk with your child to school whenever possible. If you don’t live nearby, take public transport, bike or drive and get out a few blocks away and walk together. The walk will become a meaningful way to spend time together and help get the day off on the right foot.

  • Create traditions. Take pictures of your child in front of your home or on their way to school. Each year you can reflect back on these first day of school photos and see how much your child has grown in every way.

  • Know that if the first day went well or didn’t go well, there are many more days of school throughout the year and peaks and valleys along the way.
We hope your child’s first experience with school is part of their magnificent journey of growing up!

Many thanks to Barefoot books for the material that was used in this post.

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