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COLUMBUS, Miss. -- With the start of school quickly approaching, parents and students are anticipating the change that leaves behind the relaxation of summer.


After a summer of being able to sleep late, getting back into a routine can be a shock to both parents and children.

While getting back on task may take some effort, Dr. Sue Jolly-Smith, dean of the College of Education & Human Sciences at Mississippi University for Women, suggested ways to ensure a happy and productive school year.

“They may have something new for the first few days of school. This could be anything from new clothes to new pens and pencils, a new lunchbox or book bag.  It doesn’t have to cost additional money. Families can be creative,” she said.

Each new school year brings about a new set of concerns for both students and teacher, according to Jolly-Smith. She believes students’ concerns are similar each year and are associated with all the unknowns. 

Some of those questions may be: Will they have a teacher or teachers with whom they can relate?  Will they be in classes with friends?  Will they be able to eat lunch with friends?  Will they remember the things they learned last year and be ready for the next level of work?  Will they be bored?

“Students of any age look forward to new challenges in learning, to getting to do the things associated with the new grade level, to new accomplishments, possibly new activities such as sports or band,” she said. “They also enjoy seeing friends with whom they may not have been in touch during the summer and sharing with them about their summer activities.”

Jolly-Smith added, teachers also may be dealing with some of the same unknowns as parents and students.  They will be working with teams of teachers and administrators, some of whom may be new and they may have new classrooms or other changes.  

“Teachers want to establish a routine and environment within their classrooms that will lead to a great year as much as the students do,” she said.

Among suggestions from experts in the field, parents can plan schedules that allow time for fun activities. Playing some kind of learning game daily at least two weeks before classes can jumpstart brain activity and get students ready for school.

While change and the unknown can create fear, Jolly-Smith said a positive attitude and open mind are great ways to begin a new school year.

July 28, 2014
Contact: Sayonara Jones
(662) 295-1915
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