Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect

I just got off the phone with the school secretary at #1 and #2's school.  School starts in a few weeks, so that means I have some things to do!!  Of course we will get school supplies, clothes, lunch boxes and backpacks, but more importantly, I want to eliminate as many start of the year jitters as possible.

Today I called to find out when the building will be be open for students to walk through.  We will go up and find the classrooms, restrooms, cafeteria, gym, lockers, library and any other area that they may need to know.  I remember how much this helped #1 his kindergarten year.  That year we even went through the cafeteria food line and practiced carrying his tray.  We wrap the tour up with a trip to the playground and I make sure I have factored in plenty of time for them to play.

An extra hurdle we will have this year is that we will be attending a new school. I want the boys to have some familiar faces when they get there. I asked the secretary for a class list so that I could get the phone numbers of some kids in their classes.  I plan on calling a few moms to see if they would want to meet up at the school playground for a play date.  Making cold-calls is not my favorite thing to do, but the mama in me will just have to hurdle that obstacle.

#1 does well with transitions, so this prep work will help him walk in on the first day with even more confidence. #2 is not so fond of new situations and these steps will help him walk in, period.  We will actually take #2's prep work a little further and his dad will also take him for a practice day too.  If it's possible I will find a time when he can visit his new classroom for a few minutes before the first day.  We did this last year and it worked wonders for him.

I can relate to both of my boys.  There have been times in my life when I was zealous to start something new  and times when I have felt anxious and hesitant. I know that in both scenarios I never regretted a walk through. For example, in high school I would always pick up my schedule early so that I could find my classes and be comfortable with my locker combination.  In college I wanted to make sure I gave myself enough time to get across campus, so I would do a dry-run to my classes the night before the semester started.  To this very day, if I have a job interview I will drive to the location the day before to make sure I know exactly where I am going. Each school year is a new beginning for your student.  Your student may be returning to the same school that they attended last year but they have never walked the halls from the vantage point of their new grade.

I know I can be quirky at times but I am guessing that some of you have done a practice run or two yourself over the years and I bet it made you feel more comfortable about your new venture too. It isn't over-the-top to think that our kids would benefit from this type of preparation;  they just don't know to ask for it!

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