What to Expect & How to Help

For parents of young kids, back to school often goes hand in hand with cries of "Mommy, don't go!" Whether your child's heading to school for the very first time, or returning after a summer of days at home, there are bound to be a few growing pains. Here are a few tips from experts on how to prepare for the big day—and make things easier for all of you.

  • Read some books
    The stories can give your child a natural opportunity to share any fears, and often have key kid-friendly phrases that parents can re-use to reassure their children. Here's a few to choose from: I Love You All Day Long, Go Home, Mrs. Beekman and The Night Before Kindergarten.
  • Get the sleep schedule on track
    A lot of kids find themselves with a later bedtime during the long and sunny summer months. Gradually get them back on schedule, moving up their bedtime by 15-30 minutes every few days. This way, when the first day of school rolls around, their internal body clocks will already be adjusted.
  • Role play
    To let your child know what to expect, have her pretend to be the parent while you act as the child. Go through all the motions of the first day of school: waking you up, getting you dressed, feeding you breakfast, dropping you off and finally, picking you up.
  • Practice the teacher’s name together.                                                                                                                                                Go through different scenarios that your child will encounter and have them use their teacher’s name. “Mrs. Brown, may I use the restroom?” or “Mr. Jones, may I help pass out snacks?” Children learn to show respect by using another person’s name in conversation.
  • Do a dry run
    Find out if you can visit the classroom with your child the week before school starts. Show them where you'll be doing drop-off, where their cubby or desk will be, and let them walk around to get familiar with the space.
  • Find some friendly faces
    See if you can find one or two other kids that will be in your child's class and set up a playdate before school starts. It'll give you a chance to get to know some fellow parents and will help acclimate your little one to his new surroundings.
  • Schedule a conference. The first day, early morning, is not the right time to go over important facts about your child. If what you have to say has not already been covered on the admission forms or at the pre-conference, go online and schedule an appointment with your child’s teacher.
  • Nest the night before 
    Let your child pick out his outfit the night before, and put everything (clothes, backpack, school supplies, snacks) out so that it's ready to go in the morning. Plan on spending a little extra QT during the bedtime routine, and make sure your little one gets plenty of sleep.
  • Create a special goodbye ritual
    Whether it's a silly handshake or a simple call-and-response phrase like, "See ya later alligator/After a while crocodile," find something unique to do as you say your goodbyes.
  • Keep it short but sweet
    One of the biggest mistakes parents make is to turn school drop-off into the long goodbye. Give them one last hug, take a deep breath, trust the teachers and walk away. Even if your child starts crying, don't linger because it will make it worse. Quick goodbyes make dry eyes.  (And keep it together, Mom! You can cry in private once you're out of sight.)
  • Celebrate at pick-up 
    At the end of the school day, make sure you are not late. Then, make like a cheerleader and tell her how proud you are and what a big girl she is. Also, ask her what's on the tap for tomorrow so you can keep the enthusiasm going.
  • Troubleshooting
    Be patient: it will generally take a few weeks before your child fully adjusts to the new school schedule. Keep your morning routine consistent and your goodbyes short, and your little student will eventually get used to school. 
What Your Child Will Learn: 
Students engage in new and challenging literacy experiences as they develop skills and knowledge under the California Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts/ Literacy. The standards are organized around four strands—Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language. 

Learning to read is critical for students at this time, but learning also focuses on three new emphases: 
(1) more exposure to content-rich informational texts; 
(2) developing opinions using evidence from books; and 
(3) engaging in group and individual reading activities around more complex texts and practicing with new vocabulary.
With the emphasis on students understanding mathematical concepts and achieving deeper learning we teach mathematics differently than in the past. Students will learn to “do math” through real-world situations and focus on fewer topics that are connected in a coherent progression within and across grade levels. Student learning focuses on the concepts and skills for addition and subtraction with a special emphasis on place value. They will learn different strategies for addition and subtraction and apply them to solving a variety of problems. Students will develop conceptual understandings about addition and subtraction that form the building blocks for later grades. They will be able to explain why a procedure works and why an answer is correct. 

What you can do to support your child's learning at home:
 Read aloud with your child and provide a variety of text types for independent reading (e.g., books, pictures with captions, rhymes, songs). 
 Build a diverse home library, visit the library or borrow books from school. 
 Have your student talk and write, or draw pictures, about what he or she is reading, experiencing, watching, or is of interest. 
 Talk with your student about the mathematics you use every day (counting to tell how many things there are, cooking, making decisions, planning a schedule). 

Below you will find two posters that list some wonderful activities you can do with your child to bolster their education.

For more information on the California Common Core State Standards and ideas for helping your student succeed, check out these resources: 
 The Common Core Resources Web page is available online at http://www.cde.ca.gov/re/cc/. Start by clicking on the Students/Parents tab. 
 The California Common Core State Standards for ELA/Literacy are available online at htthttp://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/documents/finalelaccssstandards.pdf
 The ELA/ELD Framework for California Public Schools is available online at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/rl/cf/elaeldfrmwrksbeadopted.asp
 ELA instruction in transitional kindergarten is based on the California Preschool Learning Foundations, which are available online at http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/re/psfoundations.asp
 The California Common Core State Standards for Mathematics are available online at http://www.cde.ca.gov/be/st/ss/documents/ccssmathstandardaug2013.pdf
 The Mathematics Framework for California Public Schools is available online at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/ma/cf/index.asp
 Mathematics instruction in Transitional Kindergarten is based on the California Preschool Learning Foundations, which are available online at http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/cd/re/psfoundations.asp.
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