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Tips to Help Families Start the School Year Off Right

The return of the school season can often be a stressful time as schedules shift at home, habits reform, and priorities are rearranged. This year, in particular, comes with new challenges for students, parents and faculty/staff alike, as we face reopening under unique conditions due to COVID-19. At Saint Anne Parish School, we have been working diligently to start the school year off right, and we want to help our Saint Anne families (and any family for that matter) do the same.

Saint Anne Parish School Is Prepared for a Safe and Successful Start of the 2020-2021 School Year

While student safety has always been a top priority at Saint Anne Parish School, this year requires additional measures. We are confident that we have considered all known precautions to be prepared, safe, and dedicated to a full-time, in-person opening.
Our devoted Reopening Team, consisting of teachers, parents, staff, and medical experts, has closely studied guidelines from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH), and the Office of Catholic Schools (OCS), leading to the construction of a Reopening Plan. This thorough plan includes implementing a cohort model for efficient containment, socially distanced traffic patterns and classrooms, and carefully designed arrival and dismissal procedures.
Read more about the preparations we have been taking, including a detailed outline of the most frequently asked questions regarding our Reopening Plan, by visiting our website here.

How Families Can Start the School Year Off Right

While children can be incredibly flexible, we understand that this year is going to bring a lot of changes for our students. We are striving to provide as seamless a transition as possible, however, we believe that by preparing students at home now with stability and structure, they will not only have a better transition returning to school, but greater success lasting the entire academic year. The below tips are a wonderful way to achieve this and propel the school year off to a successful start.

1. Reestablish Bedtimes and Wakeup Times

If your child’s summer fun meant sleeping in and staying up late, reestablish a regular sleep schedule as soon as possible. Healthy sleep habits play a significant part in a student’s performance, allow for a more productive day, and prevent morning and evening rushes.

2. Create a Structured Routine at Home

Every morning and every night, your child should know and follow the same routine to create consistency and prevent time crunches, lost assignments, missed due dates, etc. Start by having them adhere to the same morning “get-ready” procedure, followed by a set schedule every evening for homework time. Also, be sure they know where their coats, shoes, backpack, and lunch bag go as soon as they come home, making each child responsible for putting everything where it belongs. This will also help your child to grow in accountability.

3. Encourage Reading and Writing Every Day

Reading and writing a little bit each day is an excellent way for your child to develop their school skills while at home. As extracurricular activities are not available at this time due to the pandemic, reading and writing will encourage your child to spend their free time creatively turning on their minds, rather than turning to screen time.

4. Ask Your Child Proactive Questions About Their Day

Asking your child open-ended questions that initiate conversations can lead to stronger family bonds and your child feeling supported at home. Try to avoid questions that lead to a yes or no answer, which will prevent a conversation from developing. For example, instead of asking your child if they had a good day, ask them what they learned about at school today. Just be sure to take the time to listen to their answers, so as to not discourage them from participating in the future.

5. Create Connections from the Start

Although safe social distancing should always be applied, don’t let that stop you from becoming familiar with the people in your child’s life. You can still meet with your child’s teachers virtually via phone or video chat. Virtual meetups are also a great way to socialize with other parents and to even meet your child’s new friends! With the options available today, you don’t have to feel isolated during this academic year.
By instilling healthy habits and routines now, we are creating an environment that supports a strong academic year. With the combined efforts of Saint Anne Parish School and our Saint Anne families, we know that this year will be full of positivity, academic excellence, and spiritual growth.