The first day of school for the 2021-2022 school year is rapidly approaching and some students may be returning to full in-person instruction for the first time since the COVID-19 closure mandate. From mathematics to music to new languages, skill development and knowledge acquisition are easiest with the right tools. Set your child up for a successful year with the best back-to-school gear and help them prepare to return on August 11th. Here are a few tips to keep your child safe and to prepare them with the right tools to succeed.
1. Practice wearing a face covering: When students return to school, they will be wearing face coverings while indoors or while riding a bus. Work with your children on how to wear their face coverings properly, including how to put them on and remove them, and encourage them to practice wearing a face covering for increasing amounts of time. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) provides tips on how to put a face covering on and off and be found at www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/ COVID-19/guidance-for-face-coverings.aspx. Most importantly, our students need to hear from their families that face coverings help keep everyone healthy and safe.
2. Encourage proper hygiene: Encourage hand washing or sanitizing often as our students will have the same encouragement at school. Great times to always wash or sanitize hands include before and after interacting with people, changing locations (like in and out of the house or between classrooms), after going to the bathroom and before and after eating.
3. Socialize with others: While we’ve been at home, many children lost the ability to play with others in person. While this was important to stop the spread of COVID-19, now is the time to reintroduce children to socializing in a safe way. If possible, meet with friends or take your children to a park or playground that is abiding with CDPH guidelines and let them regain their comfort with socializing while you’re there as a support.
4. Adapt to a new sleep schedule: Many students have been on a different sleep schedule with virtual learning, especially as some may have been able to sleep right up until class starts. Now with students needing extra time to get ready, have breakfast and walk or ride to school, they are likely going to need to wake up earlier, which also means going to bed earlier. Easing into earlier bedtimes and wake-up times during the summer can make a back-to-school transition much easier.
5. Talk with your children: Our children are just like us in that they likely have a lot of mixed feelings as they head back to school. These can include concerns about being away from you, nervousness about being around others, and more. Please have open conversations with your children, letting them know they are not alone and that everyone is doing everything possible to protect their health and ensure their safety. We also want our students to know that while we don’t have all the answers, we’re all in this together and are here to support them. Compassion and caring for each other is so important right now.
6. Be available: Your children may react to being back at school in different ways. The best thing we can all do as parents is to ask questions and listen to our children to learn how their day went and what they’re feeling. We may be surprised how much we learn about them.
7. Be patient: Safety guidelines are still changing, so please be patient as we adapt to conditions.
Your child's tools to succeed:
• Reinforcements: Flash cards, a tried-and-true technique for reinforcing classroom lessons, have gone digital. Check out Quizlet, a site that features flash cards, games, diagrams and study guides on a range of subjects, including foreign languages, science subjects and even practical computer skills like Photoshop, Excel and PowerPoint. With content accessible online or on the mobile app, students can quickly and conveniently cram for their exams on-the-go.
• Practice makes perfect: Whether your child is learning to play piano for the first time or mastering their skills, the right keyboard can make all the difference. To that end, consider outfitting your student with a Casio Stage Piano from the brand’s CDP line. The CDP-S150, for example, delivers a natural grand piano sound and feel in a slim case that’s barely larger than the keys themselves, making it a great choice for those who practice in a bedroom or dorm room. Since it weighs only 23.1 pounds and is capable of running on either its included power supply or AA batteries, this model provides both portability and convenience.
• Organization: Organization is not exactly an academic skill, but mastering this life skill has the potential to improve grades and make the learning process easier. Seek out tools that help students keep both their hard copy paperwork and digital files organized, as well as teach good habits. Mountable wall files can help reduce desk clutter and provide a sorting system, whereas new digital tools like Evernote can streamline both note-taking and review.
• Higher-order thinking: By conveying the appeal of mathematics in a way that does not just rehash textbook exercises or ask students to memorize formulas, students will be motivated to explore the depths of this fascinating subject. You can foster this type of higher-order thinking by powering your child’s learning with a high-quality calculator designed for their coursework. Handling the tedious calculations, students will have the bandwidth to discover different possibilities for arriving at answers, while focusing on the concepts behind the calculations. The scientific calculator models from Casio can handle hundreds of math functions and their graphing calculators feature a natural textbook display to help students more easily visualize mathematical concepts.
• Gaming and sports: While video games may seem like a school-year distraction, they can actually provide specific benefits to budding athletes, so don’t shy away from them completely. Research has shown that gaming in general can improve hand-eye coordination, and it’s also shown that games designed to mimic actual sports play can help build real-world skills.
There’s no doubt about it. The tools students need to thrive today look quite different from the past. However, these tools can help students take both their skills, as well as their comprehension of subjects, to new heights.
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