Throughout the vibrant city of Shanghai, teachers, parents, and students are all preparing for the much-anticipated reopening of schools. During the summer, students are reengaging with their friends, neighbors, and people in their communities.
Excitement and enthusiasm are running high, and parents are motivated to do their personal best to support the transition for their child with in-person learning.
Schools in Shanghai can safely reopen for in-person learning for the 2022-2023 school year. As parents are preparing for the return to school for their child, Dr. Ben Fishman, ES Counselor at Concordia International School Shanghai, have listed a few key items so that parents may consider putting on their list of discussion topics to help ensure their child will thrive this academic year.
At Concordia, we believe that a caring, loving environment is critical for a young child’s success, and it is important that both parents and educators partner together to help guide children toward success in school and life. Family Meetings are a wonderful way to stay connected as a family. Parents and children can listen to each other and devise a plan and strategies to support one another. Parents can anticipate and create a list of needed areas of support for their children.
A family meeting is a structured discussion time that typically involves all members of a family. The meetings should be regularly scheduled, perhaps once a week. Special meetings can be called to discuss an important issue that cannot wait until the next regularly scheduled meeting.
Other benefits of this strategy are improved communication, self-esteem, emotional support, and problem solving. It is usually best to keep family meetings short, about 15-20 minutes. As families get better at communication and decision-making, the meeting times can be lengthened.
Set a scheduled time for meetings, post it where everyone will see, and keep the time. If parents are committed to the project, it will have a greater impact.
Listen to your child for ways to support their needs. During family meeting time and throughout the day, it's essential to listen to children and acknowledge their feelings. A simple technique to demonstrate care and support while listening to your children is to simply paraphrase what your child is saying, which will help them feel heard and validate their thoughts, feelings, and ideas.
Proper goodbyes are extremely important prior to transitioning back to in-person learning and returning to school. It's possible your child was not able to see close friends prior to their departure. Being in an international school means seeing many students and families come and go and providing proper closure is paramount in promoting healthy relationships and fostering a proper goodbye so your children and family are mentally and emotionally prepared for another start of a new school year. At Concordia, students can also reach out to their counselors, who will provide ongoing social/emotional lessons and care.
Play dates before the school year begins will help your children reconnect with friends that perhaps they were not able to see due to the lockdown and summer travel. Play dates are an invigorating way to provide fun, connection, and social readiness.
A solid start to the school year and establishing routines from day one will expedite the transition process. Creating a daily schedule or timetable for your child which includes time for homework, hobbies and interests, play, and free time for your children will maximize learning and productivity. Hobbies and interests, such as music lessons, sports, drama, art, etc. should continue in a similar manner as the previous school year.
Routines are especially important for younger students who are just getting accustomed to school life. In each classroom for kids at Concordia Shanghai, there is a posted classroom schedule, where songs, books, posters, signals, and key words help the children follow the routines, making sure that every day they are growing in their confidence and joy in the classroom.
Health & safety protocols
Health & safety protocols may have changed at your child's school. Aim to discuss important information that your child should know before the start of school to ease the stress of starting a new school year. This is crucially important during pandemics, such as COVID-19. The Concordia Shanghai Operations Team and Health Department have been hard at work to maintain a healthy environment for the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being of the school community.
Partnering with teachers
At Concordia International School Shanghai, we aim to cultivate strong partnerships with our families and provide them with tools and guidance to help them thrive.
These ideas and strategies will help children and families start the 2022-2023 school year with vigor, clarity, and joy. If your child does struggle with the transition back to school, do remember to listen to your child and devise a plan of support with your child’s teacher and counselor, so help is swift and effective and provided in a timely manner.