A Well-Lit Path: A Blog from Westtown School

Ready, Set, Learn!

Posted by Nancy vanArkel on August 22, 2018


Get Ready Getting ready for school takes more than a new notebook and bookbag. Help your child be ready for success by taking a few additional steps now.

Sleep: Many of us change our sleep patterns over the summer. Now is the time to begin to adjust your child’s bedtime and wake time back to a school-year routine. Adequate and consistent sleep makes a huge difference in a child’s ability to learn, and a child who is sleepy for the first week of school may have a hard time recovering.

Summer Reading: You can’t read too much in the summer! If your child completed their summer reading earlier in the summer, take some time to review the book so the story and characters are fresh in their minds. Page through the book, create a chart of characters and relationships, or journal about a particular plot twist.  

Engage the Math Brain: If you have been practicing math all summer, great! If not, re-engage your child’s math brain with playful math activities. Have a cooking afternoon, and double a favorite recipe to practice fractions. Create a family times-tables challenge to see who can accurately multiply the highest numbers (12x12 anyone?) or speed through the 7’s the fastest. Play math games on road trips by quickly adding numbers on license plates or calculating the time to your destination based on your current rate of speed.

Workspace: Your child is a year older. Does their homework space still work for them? Talk with your child about what kind of space they think works best for them and why (Kitchen or bedroom? Desk or bed?). Help them decide what the benefits and distractions are of their choice. Engage your child in creating an organized workspace that’s ready for the first night’s homework.

Technology: Now is a great time to clean up technology and have your child get back in the habit of thinking about devices as tools for learning. Get rid of apps that are no longer used and create more available space on your device. Create folders for social media apps and games, and move then to a separate page on your iPad. Move school-based apps to the opening screen. Remove distracting apps from the toolbar.

Sports: Check that your child’s cleats or other fall sports gear still fits. Encourage your child to take a short run each day to develop their endurance. Even 20 minutes a day will help them be ready for the first day of practice.

Most of all, talk with your child about what they are excited about in the coming year and what they may be wondering or worrying about. Take a walk around school. Remind your child of academic, social, or athletic success from the past year. Help them remember a challenge that they overcame or a time that they were worried and everything turned out ok. Focus on the positive.

And know that we at school can’t wait to welcome your children back!

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Topics: Inspiring the Best in Kids, Raising Resilient, Healthy Teens

Nancy vanArkel

Written by Nancy vanArkel

Nancy van Arkel is a life-long Quaker with a deep faith that Friends' education is uniquely positioned to prepare young people to be leaders in a changing world. With advanced degrees in both English and Library Services, Nancy has been both a middle and upper school teacher, and worked with students pre-K through 12th grade as Director of Library Services. She served in a national advocacy role as president of the Independent Schools Section with the American Library Association. As Middle School Principal, Nancy has overseen the introduction of Mandarin, integration of a 1:1 iPad program, expansion of the athletics program, development of a social / emotional learning (SEL) curriculum, and transformation of the student leadership program to reflect Friends' inclusive decision-making processes. She firmly believes that - despite all our fear-fueled expectations - the Middle School years are a time of exciting intellectual curiosity and can be navigated with joy.