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Sandy Garrett's Column

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Schools’ summer breaks seem to be flying by and, with the flip of the calendar, August is here!
Over the next few weeks, Oklahoma schools will be back in session for the 2009-10 school year. For many families, it is time to get supplies such as pencils, paper, book bags and clothes, but helping a child get ready for the big day is much more.
A successful and happy start to the school year can result from following a few tips:
§ A week or more before the first day of school, set wake up and
bed times. This will help everyone adjust to time changes early.
Also, eating meals at a regular time will help boys and girls be
ready for a set lunch break during the week.
§ Visit the school before classes start. This gives children and
parents a chance to become familiar with the buildings and
classrooms and meet teachers and staff. Parents can ensure
records such as medical examinations, addresses and contact
numbers are up-to-date. While you are there, take a little time
to learn about resources available such as email, Web sites and
student manuals.
§ Communicate with your child’s teacher about his or her
expectations for the coming year. Talk with children about what
you expect and, in return, ask them what they want to achieve.
§ An upbeat, positive attitude about school will help get the year
off to a great start. Some children may be anxious about a new
class or unhappy about summer coming to an end. Take this time to
emphasize the positives like seeing old friends and making new
ones, getting new supplies or clothes and learning new skills.
§ Set a home study break. Turn off the TV and video games and set
aside time during the week for the entire family to spend time
reading a book or practicing other learning activities. Then,
when school resumes, that time can then be used for homework and
§ Get involved with the school. Ask about volunteer opportunities
that might be available for parents throughout the year in
classrooms, field trips and extracurricular activities. In
addition, your school may have parent groups or parent education
classes or events.
This time of year is exciting for the entire family and may include many changes, whether it’s a new building, teacher or classmates. The transition can be less about the end of summer vacation and more about starting a brand new school year off on the right foot!
For more information about the 2009-10 school year, see the State Department of Education’s “Back to School” Web page.

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