One more month to go and we have finished another school year. Thoughts are turning to summer holidays, but before you start packing, here are ten tips for making the last weeks of school count!
- Double check dates in the diary: The end of term can get busy, with school events, parents evenings, farewells and more birthday parties. Make sure that you write each event in your calendar as soon as you RSVP (you do RSVP straight away, don’t you?) so that you don’t double-book yourselves at this busy time. If you need gifts, food or other supplies, also plan what you are going to buy and when.
- Prepare for transition to the next year: A new school year means a new classroom, new routine, new teacher, more responsibility… and for some, a whole new school. Talk to your children about their hopes and worries for the next year now, so that you can work on preparation together. Check if your school will have a transition meeting or visit to the new classroom. Find out as much as you can now, so that you have more time to get used to things together and talk it through. As parents, we can lead the way by being prepared, organised and confident about the new school year.
- Thank you presents for teachers: Check with other parents, or your class rep if you have one, what the deal is with presents for the teacher. There may be a class collection that you can join, or your child may want to make something. Whatever you decide to make or buy, start working on it now. The last week of term will be busy, so this is something that you can organise well ahead of time. And don’t forget the teaching assistants.
- Get more out of this year’s uniform: Now is not the time to be buying new uniform – chances are that your children will have grown out of it again by September. Take insoles out of shoes and trainers to give them a few more millimetres or take shoes to a shoe-mender to be stretched. For clothing, let hems down, borrow from a friend or share with an older sibling to get you through the last few weeks of term.
- New school uniform: Write your shopping list for uniform and school supplies now. Ask school for a list, but check with parents who have experienced that year already to find out what is really necessary. Write down what you think you will need. Check the opening times of your school uniform shop and plan when you are going to visit by writing it in your diary. Remember that your children may have a growth spurt over the summer, so you will want to wait until the last few weeks before school starts to make your purchases.
- Organise school artwork and projects: As soon as artwork comes home from school, write the date, topic and child’s name on the back. Display it on the wall, or pop it straight into a file or box if you want to keep it. Remember, you don’t have to keep everything – start a scrapbook of the best examples, or pieces that demonstrate a particular skill or learning point. If you don’t have room for originals, take photos or scans and re-size them to fit your scrapbook or memory box. This works particularly well for 3-D projects and crafts. There are also a number of apps available to keep artwork and memories digitally (I use Keepy and Project Life). Keep the memories, not the clutter!
- Stay healthy: School holidays are the perfect time for dentist and optician appointments, vaccinations and medical check-ups. Book them in now with your clinic before their schedules get too busy!
- Write a summer fun list: Whether you are staying in the UAE or travelling, planning a holiday to-do list is a fun way of organising your summer and making sure everyone gets a say. Ask each family member to select what they would like to do this summer and write it down. Include educational visits and opportunities for learning too. Then have fun checking each thing off as you achieve it as a family.
- Check holiday plans with friends: Before people start leaving for the summer, make a note of the dates when friends will be at home. If you are staying in the at home for any period of time over the holidays, you will want to know who is around for play dates and fun. Find out now, and you’ll know who to invite over!
- It’s not too late to form good habits: If your routine is beginning to get a bit rough around the edges, or you are leaving the house later and later each morning as term progresses, now is the time to press the reset button and start again. It’s never too late to form good habits, and by finishing the term in an organised way, you are setting the whole family up for success in September. Make lunches and pack bags the night before, get everyone up on time, eat a healthy breakfast… habits made now will be easy to jump straight back into in September!
This post originally appeared as an article for Which School Advisor – you can read it here!