Servicing Newcastle, Lake Macquarie & Port Stephens (02) 4044 1122 hello@agrowingunderstanding.com.au

It is hard to believe that January is almost at an end. It seems like only yesterday that the shops were advertising Boxing Day Sales. Now I am navigating through drink bottles, lunch boxes and book packs during my weekly grocery shop. But nonetheless, it is back to school time, and moving from the free fun of long summer days and into the classroom (and the structure that comes with it) can be challenging.

It’s always been one of my passions to support families through their transitions into the new school year. This year is even more significant as my husband and I see our eldest child head off to ‘Big School’ for the very first time. There are a range of emotions in our household – curiosity about new friends and teachers, excitement about new playgrounds and activities to explore, as well as a lot of nervousness surrounding the unknown, new structures and routines. Most importantly, we can see that once school starts, we are going to be ‘busy’.

Getting Organised for Back to School at Home

With an increase in activity, it can be useful to create some organisation on the home front. This can reduce stress, relieve pressure in the morning, ensure you stay up to date with paperwork, and, of course, help prepare your child for the day ahead. Furthermore, we know that children with speech and language delays can benefit from additional structure and routine to promote independence and reduce anxiety. To help you achieve a successful transition into the new school year, I have pulled together a few of my top back to school tips:

Drive Bys

In the weeks leading up to starting or returning to school, incorporate a few ‘drive bys’ into your routine. This will assist your child in becoming familiar with the road trip, and help them identify the building. Talk about which door or gate you will go through, what path you might take and what room you will head towards. Even if your child is already familiar with the school setting, a simple reminder drive by can alleviate some anxiety about the impending return.

Weekly Schedule

Adding a weekly schedule to your fridge is a great way to visually highlight the key events/activities for each day. This can be particularly useful for school aged children who need to keep track of weekly events such as sports day, library day, etc. Add a photo of where each person will be on each day, e.g. work, preschool, school to help your child process who will be at home, who may be taking them to school and who to expect at pick up. Also add any additional after school activities to the chart, such as soccer, music lessons, or OOSH.

Having this chart accessible and in a high-traffic area of the house allows your child to process this information in their own time, independently prepare for future events and reduce anxiety.

Monthly Calendar

Place a calendar with a month to a page next to your weekly schedule (you may need to clear off your fridge magnet collection!). Highlight any special activities on the calendar such as birthdays, holidays, first day at school on the calendar. Take some time each day to count down to these special events, for example, “5 more days until school starts”. This can help your child to further prepare for the new routine, special days and other ‘longer term’ events.

Clear Routines

Create clear ‘Before School’ and ‘After School’ routines. This may be as simple as ‘wake up; breakfast; brush teeth; get dressed; free time’, and can incorporate visuals. Not only can this support your child’s independence and self-help skills, it can be very useful in promoting smooth mornings and efficient house exits – a win-win situation for all involved.

Sleep is also very important for children starting or heading back to school, so you might like to consider creating a clear bedtime routine. This may involve a set of specific tasks like teeth, toilet, story etc, and timeframes that ensures your child is getting to bed at a reasonable time and is rested and ready for a busy school day.

Bag Tags

Develop a bag tag system to support your child to independently pack their own school bag. This is a small collection of pictures that attach to your child’s school bag, like a keyring. Each picture represents an item that needs to be in their bag, e.g. hat, lunch box, water bottle, library bag. This can also promote self-help skills and ensures your child knows they are packed and ready for their day.

Bag Station

If space allows, set up a designated bag station in your home, preferably near the front entrance. This is an allocated area for your child’s school bag, hat, school shoes, reading folder and anything else they may need for school. Having everything in one place can help your child to quickly gather everything they need for school that day, and encourage independence.

Getting Organised for Back to School at School

While the efforts made at home will certainly help your child feel more confident about heading back to school and encourage them to be independent, we also need to look at what needs to happen at school to help your child transition into the classroom.

For students with speech and language delays, providing additional structure and supports within the classroom is important to promote participation and learning. Discussing the following with your child’s teacher can help maximise the desired outcomes of independence, engaged learning and confidence:

  • Modifying class work and homework where appropriate
  • Incorporating visual supports into the classroom, including a school weekly and daily schedule
  • Introducing a ‘Core Vocabulary List’ for specific topics. This is a list of common words used within a school topic. If your child is studying ‘Workers in the Community’, some core vocabulary words may include policeman, fireman, nurse, emergency, and ambulance. Researching these words ahead of time with your child can assist their participation when they come to engage in these topics in class time.
  • For students that participate in ‘News’ sharing, a template for organising thoughts and ideas may be useful.

At the end of the day, it is all about preparing your child as best as you can to beat the back to school blues, and ensure they ease into their school day routine with enthusiasm, rather than resistance. Do you have any tried and tested strategies for helping your child get back into the school routine?

16 hours ago

A Growing Understanding- Speech Pathology

The Carly Ryan Foundation Inc. has created these helpful fact sheets for commonly used apps/games/programs. With so many of our children accessing these programs, we strongly believe in their efforts for a safer online environment for all families!The Carly Ryan Foundation produces factsheets on some of the more common apps used. For a .pdf version of the apps please email info@carlyryanfoundation.com ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

HIGH FIVE ✋🏻 Abbigail!! You have been working so hard on your ‘r’ sounds (it’s not easy to hear the difference between ‘r’ and ‘w’)! You are such a joy to work with and I loved the laughs we shared during our practise session today!
Also- Abbi shared the StorySign Android app with us today! This clever app scans the words in books and translates into signs to hearing-impaired children! Check it out! ~ Lauren

#growunderstanding #highfive #speechpathology #speechtherapy #excellence #newcastle #lakemacquarie #portstephens
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

🎶🎵🎶Did you know that singing, including nursery rhymes and other ‘finger play’ games can be a wonderful way to interact with your child with ASD? These activities can encourage your child’s turn taking skills and requesting skills - essential for building early social skills. Today we had a happy time with Miss C, her mother and her teddies singing ‘Round and Round the Garden’.

What was your favourite nursery rhyme/finger play game as a child? ~Melissa 🙂
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

What a night! Not only did Jess win Young Employee of the Year, but I am proud to say that our team was the last ones dancing on the dance floor!! What an amazing night and what an amazing team! I am unbelievably proud! The Lake Macquarie City Council presented a wonderful night of celebration, and we thank all the sponsors and supporters for helping to make it happen.

#lmbea #excellence #growunderstanding #speechpathology #speechtherapy #lakemacquarie #newcastle #portstephens #amazingteam
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

We missed out on the Employer of Choice award this year (with the award going to Toronto Private Hospital). But with such a high calibre of businesses as finalists, we are still extremely proud! A Growing Understanding is a place to establish and grow a career and we want it to be well-known as an awesome place to work! With an amazing team like this- we can continue to provide high quality, awesome speech pathology services to children in our region! We are proud to be finalists in this category!

#lmbea #excellence #growunderstanding #speechpathology #speechtherapy #lakemacquarie #newcastle #portstephens #amazingteam
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Have Questions?

Our Locations

Lake Macquarie
Unit 7-8, 48 Oakdale Road, Gateshead NSW

Port Stephens
Building E, 1 Technology Place, Williamtown NSW

Our Locations

Lake Macquarie
Unit 7-8, 48 Oakdale Road, Gateshead NSW

Port Stephens
Building E, 1 Technology Place, Williamtown NSW

Copyright © 2019 A Growing Understanding | Website Design and Development by Beverly Cassidy | PRIVACY POLICY

Medicare LogoHiCaps Logo

Copyright © 2019 A Growing Understanding | Website Design and Development by Beverly Cassidy | PRIVACY POLICY