Fashion your passion for the labour of learning
By: Tim Cusack
| Posted: Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 06:00 am
Hello fashion lovers, it’s almost time to retire white pants and shoes from the wardrobe! Labour Day is nigh and after several pregnant pauses in wishing that summer would never end, I find myself looking though my bulk-knit sweater collection whilst humming along to the catchy refrain of “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
As we put away the summer wear and get set for fall, we also set aside casual summer days in favour of the sense of normalcy that comes with the fashioning of routines and schedules which are standard accessories of a new school year.
“Back to school” is an annual ritual that comes with a sense of excitement and wonder for most people. Shopping for “school” clothes and getting school supplies make for a few exciting, if not hectic, final days of August. Students are all a-twitter finding out what classes they will be in and who their teachers will be. They are abuzz with sharing summer stories and talking about the events that will unfold in term ahead of them.
For some however, parents included, the transition out of summer into the rhythms and tempo of new learning can be the cause of anxiety, stress, fear and frustration.
Over the summer students tend to let their bodies attune with daylight. They stay up late and often sleep in. This natural rhythm becomes problematic with the arrival of the long weekend. Students need to get up early, eat breakfast, catch a bus and be on time. Getting back to school form takes more than one decent night’s sleep. Parents should work on a graduated return to school bedtime routines and get their children up earlier as the first day approaches.
Starting at a new school, especially with a change of levels from elementary to junior high or junior to senior, can cause a student great stress. Arranging a school tour, meeting the school admin or counsellor in advance of the first day can readily ease concerns and help a student with the transition.
Worries about making friends, fitting in, being accepted, are also at the heart of many fears about the return to school. Identifying a key friend or companion known to your child from your local neighbourhood can assist with alleviating the worry over meeting new friends. Many schools offer a student mentorship program as part of new student orientation.
Ultimately, by being positive, encouraging and supportive as a parent you can put a favourable spin on the new school year. Enthusiasm is often contagious and by reassuring your student that there are numerous people both at school and home who care and who want to help, the back to school jitters can be remedied. Communication between home and school is key to learner success and has evolved to the realm of social media.
Leaning is a lifelong endeavour so I hope everyone is able to fashion their passion for learning and enjoy the fruits of your labour during the new school year!
Tim Cusack is an educator, writer and serving member of the Naval Reserve.