Back to school
After nearly six weeks of summer holidays, it’s time to start thinking about the new school term.
A little preparation will help your child to make a smooth transition into their new class or school. Remember that every child will respond to change differently. With a few simple, gentle changes over the next week or so, you will really be able to help them adapt to going back to school.
We’ve put together some tips which we hope might support you as you get your family ready for the start of the new school year.
Your child has probably been able to choose their own clothes during the summer break. No doubt these clothes will have helped them to feel relaxed and informal.
In Jersey, our schools usually ask you to send your child to school wearing a uniform from their Reception year onwards. This will help your child to feel a sense of belonging to their school community. Headteachers will encourage your child to develop independence, a sense of personal pride and presentation. For some children, this can be a big change from the shorts and t-shirts they may have worn during the warm summer weather.
Support with buying uniform
It’s worth knowing that your school may operate a recycling scheme for second-hand uniforms once the term gets going. Don’t buy too much in advance - young children grow so quickly. If you are a parent on a low income of a primary or secondary child, you can apply for additional support from The Variety Club of Jersey via the following links:
Your school will have agreed on uniform providers for some pieces of clothing and these are usually listed on the school website or in school handbooks. Other pieces such as white shirts or grey trousers can be bought online or in local shops. The main uniform suppliers for schools in Jersey are:
Tips to help with uniforms
- encourage your younger child wear their uniform at home for short periods during the holidays
- practice doing up shoes, ties and zips together. Let them try to do as much as they can for themselves - it takes time for them to start feeling comfortable with the process. This activity will help you get an idea of how much time it will take to get ready for school
- help you older child understand what is expected of them if they are to look smart. Show them how to check themselves in the mirror
- name everything with a permanent pen, iron-on or self-adhesive labels. When there are up to 30 similar jumpers in a class, it is likely your child will need help in managing their belongings. It is very helpful for staff in the school if things are named. This includes bags, lunch boxes, water bottles, books and pencil cases
- if your child is in Nursery or Reception, have spare clean underwear in a bag that can be left at school.
Over the last six weeks or so, it is likely that you will have allowed household routines to become more flexible so that the family can have periods of relaxation. School days are very different with set times to drop children to off at school, buses to catch and end of the day pick-ups. Making lunchboxes, organising homework, book bags and PE kits can all be demanding on your time, so here are some suggestions that might help you and your child be more organised.
Tips to help with routines
- start early - begin to bring the routines back gently from now until school starts again
- think about how much sleep your child needs and start setting slightly earlier bedtimes so they can manage the school routine when it starts
- get your child to help make their own lunchbox for each day. Older children can be encouraged to do this independently
- involve your child in setting up a visual timetable for what the before- and after-school routines will look like during the week
- share on a calendar when school will start again. Some children find it useful to start counting down the days before school starts
- support your child with how to use the buses by practising the route together if they have not done this before
- if your child will be walking to school, walk the route with them a few times so that they understand where the road safety issues are and can manage these.
- start a daily reading routine if you haven’t had one or perhaps start bedtime stories again. If you have a young child, nursery rhymes, counting and ‘I Spy’ are great activities to prepare for school.
Your child might show signs that they are worried about starting school. This is perfectly normal and they will all adjust to school routines at a different pace. You know your child best and will be able to tailor any activities to their needs. Schools will also understand this and be ready to help.
Tips to help when your child feels anxious
Here are some things to consider. You might:
- take a young children for a walk or drive past their new school so they know where they will be going
- set up play dates in the days before school starts to help build friendships
- help your child feel as positive and as excited as possible about going to school
- listen to any worries they may have and talk things through. Sometimes this will show in their behaviour or through their drawings rather than in something they say.
- if you have any concerns, speak to your child’s teacher or key worker at the earliest opportunity so they can help and advise you.
In Jersey, all secondary schools have a school canteen. Although a school hot meal service has been piloted in primary schools, this has not yet been extended to all schools. It is very likely that you will be asked to provide a packed lunch for your child from the first day back in school with a refillable water bottle.
Here are some ideas for lunches and snacks:
On the buses
Many older pupils like to be independent and therefore use the school bus service.
Here are some links to help you navigate this method of getting your child to school.
Liberty Bus: how-to-guide
Avanchi card application form
Route: Hautlieu-JCG-Victoria College- De La Salle-Beaulieu-FCJ
Route: Grainville-Haute Vallee
Finally, don't forget to take care yourself
While trying to help your children get ready for coming back to school, remember that you need to take care of yourself too. If you can, try and set aside some time for yourself. Remember to ask for help when you need it whether it be from a family member, friends or the staff in schools.
Enjoy the rest of your summer and see you all soon at school!