It is almost the New Year, and the back to school season is here with us. This year though, the back to school season comes with a twist! Under normal circumstances, our children would be preparing to start the year in a new class. They would be proceeding to the next class level and most likely feeling either very proud or uncertain about what to expect.
However, our children are moving to the class they left behind in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic that affected the entire world. The whole education system in Kenya has been hard hit by this pandemic. It has been a challenging space to manoeuvre for all stakeholders.
Nonetheless, the time is here. It is back to school in January, and as a parent, you need to prepare your child for school in a slightly different way.
Here are 9 tips that can help you get the year started right for your son or daughter:
1.Connect with your child’s school:
Make a point to attend any preparation meetings your school may have scheduled in readiness for school opening in January. You may also want to visit the school and determine the January school requirements such as fees, learning requirements and available programmes for your child to tap into. A critical area that parents should look out for is the precautions and procedures your school has put into place for its learners. Look out mainly for hand wash areas, school rules on hand wash schedules, wearing masks, and how the school intends to manage learners once they resume.
The school uniform that your child was wearing must be somewhere at the back of the closet. Right? It’s time that you took them out of the closet and have the children try them on. Your kids are most likely all grown and need a new set of uniform, school shoes and perhaps a new school bag that can accommodate their course books. You want to avoid the last-minute rush. Get cracking and get shopping for these items. Children love to be in the correct uniform on their 1st day of school. It makes them feel ready and that they belong. The onus is on you mum and dad. Get them looking sharp for their 1st day of face to face schooling in January.
3.Put together the course books and exercise books in the house:
“Mum! Dad! Have you seen my Math text book? I had left it in the drawer some time back!” Words that any parent dreads to hear, especially when asked on the morning of their 1st day of school. We all know 1st day of school can sometimes be hectic.
After Christmas, you want to have your family come together and get the house organised, with a focus on ensuring that your child/children’s books are put together. School diaries, exercise books, learning devices, stationery, and textbooks will most likely on the top of your child’s needs for school. Pack everything your child came home with if not sure what they should carry to school for their 1st day.
4.Have a “Back to School” talk/discussion:
Organise a time where you bring your child/children together and discuss how they feel about going back to school. Allow them to tell you their feelings about back to school and their expectations. This helps them prepare psychologically for a school (remember, they have been away from school for 9 months and may not know what to expect).
Mum, Dad, a key talk point is self-management tips, especially regarding COVID-19 Speak from the point of positivity and safety and not fear. Your child needs to know how to manage themselves (wearing mask and handwashing regularly) even if your school has planned training for the learners. The onus once again is on the parent to prepare the child psychologically.
5.Deposit the required school fees:
As much as schools want their children back to school, the main area that parents need to plan for well is the school fees. You may be with a school that has considered or accommodated parents with a fee payment in installments. If so, that’s great. Aim to work within the stipulated time frames. Remember, private schools have been in dire straits while schools were closed. Steady finances are needed for the school operations to run well on a day to day basis. Remember, a sound operations system in school translates to a safe, happy and healthy environment for your child.
6.Go school shopping:
Set a day to go school shopping. Ensure your child feels ready to learn with the tools they may need for their return to learning
7.Prepare a back to school home menu:
Mum, get a copy of the school menu. You want to make sure that your child is eating right now that they will be back to school. Strong, healthy bodies and sharp minds are much needed to face school during the pandemic.
8.Inform your school about any changes from your end:
Have you moved to a new location and does the school know about it? Take time to inform the school about any change that may affect the way you partner or work with your child’s school. For instance, a new residential address would mean that the school driver is informed about the new pick up or drop off point.
9.Have a celebratory get together:
Come together as a family over a special meal. Celebrate that school is back and pray together. Seal going back to school with God’s words of comfort and reassurance.
God bless you and your family in the new year.