After two years of staring at a laptop, nodding off, or getting fidgety, you’d think kids would be eager to get back to school in person. But school starts before summer ends, and giving up summer fun is a tough transition. The novelty of being back in the classroom wears off fast. In the first few weeks of school, try some of these ways parents can help teachers make back-to-school fun (as you collapse with relief that school has begun again, at last!)
Make Fun Okay
For more than two years, teachers have faced ridiculous challenges, from fast-shifting COVID restrictions to hybrid learning and coping with exhausted, irate parents. Let’s give teachers some love, and let them know you won’t hold it against them if they use some clever strategies to ease kids back into learning in the classroom.
If re-engaging kids involves learning by doing, playing outdoors with lessons snuck in, then so be it. Kids need ways to get acclimated to the classroom again, and teachers are professionals who have many time-tested techniques for doing just that. They deserve parents’ support.
Help With Icebreakers
Many kids will be walking into a classroom with students they didn’t know before and teachers who are new to them. Help your children’s teachers with icebreaker activities the teachers may have planned. Some of these include “beach ball questions,” where kids toss a beach ball inscribed with icebreaker questions to each other and answer the question their fingers land on when they catch it. Ask your children’s teacher what supplies you could donate to help facilitate the icebreaker activities they have planned.
Other icebreakers may include making personalized t-shirts for the kids in the class or making a “get to know you” scavenger hunt or bingo game cards for classroom use.
Volunteer as a Chaperone
Teaching outdoors is one way teachers can get kids engaged when summer is still beckoning them. Activities may include gathering sand specimens at the beach to examine under a microscope. Teachers may also take their classes on a “sensory walk” around school grounds to note sights, sounds, smells, and textures. Or kids can use sidewalk chalk to inscribe math activities, vocabulary words, or fill-in-the-blank reading lessons on the playground. But most classrooms have more kids than one teacher can corral single-handedly outside, so when the call for parent volunteers comes, step up.
Teachers work hard to ease back-to-school jitters for their students. Parents can help teachers make back-to-school fun.