July is coming to an end, and before we know it, area schools will be back in session! This time of year can come with excitement and anxiety for students and parents alike. ACC experts with the ACC Teacher Certification Program share some tips to get you and the kids ready!

Written by: Tatiana Sokolik, Teacher & Principal Certification Programs

Here are some best practices to use when preparing children for a smooth and stress-free transition back to the classroom:

Physical Preparation

  • Develop a School Sleep Routine

A week before school begins, have your child start getting into bed at the same time they would once school starts. Having adequate sleep is necessary for our children to succeed in school, and starting this habit before the first day ensures they will be getting adequate rest from the start of the semester!

  • Prepare Nutritious Grab-and-Go Breakfasts

Mornings are hectic, and school mornings are even more so; however, starting the morning with a nutritious breakfast helps students function better throughout the day. By having some grab-and-go breakfasts on hand, your kids will always be able to get to school on time and have a fueled mind and body. Check out this link for some great grab-and-go breakfast ideas!

Social Emotional Preparation

  • If your child is anxious about the start of the school year, have a rehearsal day! This is a day before the start of school when they will get up, get dressed, head to school at the time they normally would visit their classroom and cafeteria, get familiar with drop off and pick up locations, and just walk through the steps of the day with the support of their parents. This can help students feel more prepared and comfortable on the first day.
  • Help your child discover what friends they have that will be in their class. Try to arrange for them to spend time together before the first day of school. After a long summer break, many children can feel somewhat estranged from their peers, and some time to reconnect and recreate their support system can be hugely beneficial in lowering the first day of school nerves. Check out your school ClassDojo or newsletters to identify any school playdates that may be scheduled.
  • Are there coping items or routines that help your child self-regulate when they are faced with tough emotions? Communicate about these items or routines with your child’s teacher, so that your child will be better able to self-regulate when the school year starts.
  • Help your child by picking out their clothes for the first day of school. This can be both a confidence booster and a preparation help to ensure that you get out the door on time on day one.

Supply Preparation

  • Prepare a backpack in advance. Helpful items to pack include individual tissue packs, hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes, a backup pair of clothes, and masks.
  • If your district sent home tablets or laptops for summer use, ensure they are fully charged and packed in your child’s backpack for the first day of school. Check with your child’s teacher to see if headphones are recommended.
  • Your child’s school will send a supply list out before the school year starts, so you can ensure your child has what they need before the first day of school. Below are some local schools’ supply lists that can give you an idea of what will likely be on your child’s list.
  • Some teachers create Wish Lists for the school year, so if you’re interested in helping out classrooms, teachers, and/or other students, this can be a great route to do so. Ask your child’s teacher for more information.

Habits for Success

  • Throughout the school year, check in daily with your child about how things are going. If you think they could use more academic or social-emotional support, be sure to reach out to your child’s teacher. They will be happy to hear from you, and you can work together to create a support plan for your child. 
  • Set up a designated study space and daily study time at your home so your child has a dedicated routine. Allow your child to have agency in the creation of the space as well as the dedicated time chosen. 
  • Prepare some questions to ask your child each day after school to show that you’re interested in them and what they are learning. Some wonderful questions include:
    • Tell me about a time that you liked how you felt today.
    • When was a time you didn’t like how you felt today?
    • Tell me about what you read today.
    • What are the rules at school? Are they similar to home? Do you think they’re fair?
    • Who are you enjoying spending time with at school right now?
    • What did lunch look like today?

Communications with the School

  • Most schools utilize apps such as ClassDojo to communicate with parents. Check with your child’s teacher to ensure you are able to receive school-wide, classroom-specific, and one-on-one teacher messages.
  • Some parents create grade-level messaging groups on services like WhatsApp to send messages to a grade level. Check with your PTA president or your child’s teacher to see if such a group exists to which you can be added.
  • Speaking of the PTA (the Parent-Teacher Association), this is a wonderful way to get involved with your school. Whether you are simply a member or volunteer, you’ll learn more about your school and community via the PTA.
  • Finally, some schools have room and/or grade-level parents to support individual classrooms and teachers and help coordinate teacher appreciation. If you’re interested, reach out to the PTA or front office for more information.

If you are an AISD student, be sure to read more about the Meal Programs AISD offers, including the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), which gives students at 76 different AISD schools access to free breakfast and lunch. 

If you need help procuring supplies for your student, reach out to the Parent Support Specialist at your child’s school. They will be able to support you in getting what you need. 

As a teacher, I adore the back-to-school season, as it comes with excitement, fresh starts, and the opportunity to create new, lasting memories and friendships. The ACC TCP team wishes you and your child a wonderful start to the 2023-2024 school year!

ACC’s Teacher Certification Program offers two pathways: Traditional Program, which can be completed in 18 – 24 months, or the Residency Program, which can be completed in one calendar year. 

The program is part of ACC’s fast-track program and is currently offered at a 50% discount. Learn more about the path to certification here!