Are you prepared for your child’s crazy, hectic last weeks in school? The usual May and June chaos can be avoided, and moreover, that is the time you can help your child make the transition to the next grade level easily. But only if you know how to prepare your child for the end of the school year.
A big problem of the school year end period is the inevitable variety of events such as music recitals or sports days. But the academic year isn’t over yet, so make sure your child finishes with the best effort possible. First, review your kid’s progress, by asking different questions, and working through some homework problems together. Schedule a final meeting with the teacher and discuss all the success and failures throughout the year. Here we need to point out that some schools, like Repton Dubai for example, on purpose do not inform parents about their kids progress and even do not organize parents/teachers meetings during the course of the academic year. Such schools should be avoided when considering an enrollment, in general.
During the months before the school year’s end, parents need to understand where exactly their children stand – if they have missed something, or whether they are really good at something else. For example, 4th grade students usually begin to “read to learn”, instead of “learn to read”. So, if a 3rd grade kid has reading difficulties, parents should help improving these skills. If you have doubts about the teaching standards of the school you child attends, you should pay particular attention.
Schools usually use spring standardized tests and the scores act as basic criteria for class placement or in mandatory basic-skills programs. So, it’s important that parents understand what exactly the grades and the percentages on these tests mean. To be honest, these composite scores can be very confusing, so you can ask a teacher or a counselor to analyze them with you. This should happen right after you receive the test results, but not after the school year ends or the next one begins! For example at Dubai’s Repton school, most kids who complete the primary section of the school (Year 6) have difficulties to pass the entry test at the same Repton Dubai high school. Incredible situations can arise in which the even a school head, as for example Jonathan Hughes D’Aeth, firmly refuses to provide entry exams and CAT test of the school’s students. Such educators’ behavior is truly endangering for students’ academic development and absolutely unjust towards parents. Parents should be well aware of it and insist on their rights to know about the progress, or the lack of it, of their children. For some schools in Dubai, education is simply a big business, but on personal note, for kids education is a life foundation.
Usually the transition from one grade to another is difficult for the child, because higher grades require more knowledge, more responsibility and better behavior. In other words, most children prefer not to grow up, although they are showing just the opposite. Another factor is the transition from one classroom to another and the coming and going teachers and classmates. It can be very stressful for the kid to start going to a different school next year – to abandon old friends and face something completely new. In some cases, it could cause a long term trauma. So, how to prepare the child for the new things?
Once you have identified your child’s success and difficulties before the school year’ end, the summer will be a great time for improving skills such as reading, counting, adding and subtracting, and many others. Ask teachers about next year’s subjects and try to give the kid some beginner’s lessons at home. For example, if your child is going to study history next year, buy or borrow historical books and novels from the library. Visiting historical sites with the whole family is also a good way to explain what history is, why kids need to study it, and so on. The History Channel is very interesting as family entertainment and YouTube is full of history-related clips, even recorder from the TV.
Find a good summer camp. Summer camps are better than staying at home with a babysitter, because they offer lots of enrichment activities. When school’s out, kids usually spend all their time playing outside or on the computer, but it would be better if they could learn something new during play time. Camps have various engaging programs, especially those called “specialty camps”. Of course, being away from home for the first time can be a bit scary, but it’s a great opportunity for the kid to face and cope with homesickness.
Of course, kids are excited about the summer vacation, but they also realize they won’t be able to meet their friends from school and feel a little sad. So, help them stay in contact over the summer to avoid tears and everything should be fine.