Whenever a new academic year begins or when a school holiday ends, we know that all parents want to try their best to help their children prepare for school. Entering a new academic year or starting school again after the holidays can be pretty challenging for many students, as they have to get used to school again or if they are starting a new academic year, they are moving a level up the education chain, with new topics introduced and a heavier workload. This can be very overwhelming for students who are not sufficiently prepared.
With these series of tips, you’ll be setting up your child to learn both effectively and efficiently!
11 ways to prepare for school
1. Get the studying space ready
Having a clean study area will help your child prepare for school | Image source: Shutterstock
Prepare a conducive studying space for your child. Tidy up the space, store or throw away any unessential items. Consider recycling, donating or passing down toys, books or past study materials to those who may need them. Clear out home subject files for archiving home practice materials.
2. Keep the last two years of materials
As a rule of thumb, never throw away school books and materials over the last two years. For primary school science, it is necessary to keep even the Primary 3 materials because they will still be tested during the PSLE.
3. Prepare a full stationery set
These need not be new but essentials must be there, e.g. pen, pencils, ruler, eraser, stapler, correction tapes, pencil lead, colour pencils, highlighters. Pencils and colour pencils should be sharpened. Wrap the new books.
4. Get a new notebook for each subject
Teach your child to use a notebook (preferably A5-sized) to record down key points for each subject, such as useful words and phrases, concept maps, mind-maps, a compilation of corrections.
5. Discuss a calendar of events and activities
Prepare for school by discussing activities and putting them in a calendar | Image source: Unsplash
Have a family calendar and one specifically for your child. Write down some major events and activities for the year ahead, such as family vacations and important examinations. Continue to update this calendar throughout the year so that everyone is clear of what is to come next.
6. Agree upon goals, daily and weekly routines
Image source: Shutterstock
Parents and children need to discuss and agree upon goals for 2019, as well as the daily and weekly routines necessary for achieving the goals. Goals have to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based – to be effective.
7. Monitor progress toward goals on a weekly basis
Just like scaling toward a mountain summit, we have to make sure that every single step brings us closer to the objective. Big goals have to be broken down into clear manageable objectives with deadlines. Ask around for help if you are unsure about the objectives. Progress to the objectives and goals would have be reviewed on a weekly basis, and adjustments should be made. Remember that there are really no unreasonable goals, only unreasonable deadlines.
8. Keep important plans in clear view
The calendar, goals and routines have to be pinned up together with the school timetable in clear view as a constant.
9. Browse the study guides and assessment books
Buy additional study aids to help prepare for school | Image source: Shutterstock
These additional study aids should be used as early as possible. Be mindful of buying only what is necessary, and ask around for good reviews. Consistent work is many times more effective than the last-minute rush. If you know your child needs it, get it.
10. Prepare a large box for each subject
These boxes should be large enough to act as a store for discarding used books and worksheets of the specific subject. Firstly, this system of storage reduces clutter on the study desk and shelves. Secondly, it ensures that the student will be able to search out whatever that needs to be reviewed from one place during revision.
11. Plan in family bonding time
Family bonding goes a long way to help prepare for school! | Image source: Shutterstock
Last but not least, it is crucial to plan in family bonding time by doing things together. Big worthwhile goals can be achieved more easily when there is meaningful communication and support within the family. Consider doing volunteer work, family outings or home projects just for a change which would increase the degree of interest and engagement. Just like it takes a village to raise an Olympic champion, it takes a family to nurture a competent and confident child.
We hope that you try these tips to help your children prepare for school. If they helped, share with your friends or leave a comment below!
Written by Mr Chee Chin Young and Ms Cha Pei Pei.
Mr Chee and Ms Cha are the Principal and Vice-Principal of Fun Learners’ School, respectively. Their school enriches education for over 400 students through 15 dedicated teachers by applying the unique school’s “linchpin competencies” as developed by the two founders. Their aim is to help the students focus on what is important for them to do well, instead of just taking in information wholesale and not knowing how to make sense of them.
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