By Rowan Flood
Heading back to the classroom in a month doesn’t mean that summer is over. Returning to school soon means summer is at its peak! It’s time to truly enjoy the warm days ahead and cherish the moments of a different routine. While some preparation for the fall is necessary with school supplies, mental health check ins and more, don’t forget to make sure you fully enjoy your summer. Enjoy the waterparks and pools, savor your drippy ice cream and enjoy warm evening walks. School is around the corner, but summer is still here for a while. So how can we ensure we are prepared for the school year while also embracing summer days?
Being present is important in creating lasting memories and appreciating what’s around you. Use your senses to observe your surroundings, breathe deeply and smell the summer air, feel the warm breeze and appreciate the longer hours of sunlight. Cheryl Lock wrote in a Washington Post article that, “by engaging multiple areas of their brain,” you’ll have more room for remembering. Feeling satisfied about your summer will perhaps allow a more positive outlook when you return into the classroom. Let yourself have fun!
If you can find ways to relax during summer it can also benefit your year of learning. An article published on AboutKidsHealth says that relaxation can, “help you think more clearly, concentrate and remember things better.” By giving your brain some well-needed rest it can improve the work it has ahead. KidsHealth recommends nine to 12 hours of sleep for elementary school-age children and eight to ten for teenagers. The month before school starts is a good time to begin a consistent bedtime routine that will ensure enough sleep through the rest of summer and have you prepared for school time as well.
The Toronto District School Board has a number of videos and articles with advice, tools, and resources on how to prepare for school. They acknowledge that it can be a scary or worrying idea after so much time off but encourage creating a safe space where you can listen to concerns or worries raised. School Mental Health Ontario has a video featuring students talking about their worries and tips for school. Many emphasize having a support system ready and note collaboration as being important to having a good experience when returning to the classroom. Taking care of yourself should come first no matter what so utilize your summer days to do so, while considering what you might need in the school year ahead. To began this consideration process, a simple conversation with family, caregivers, friends or anyone you trust is a good place to start. School Mental Health Ontario has a list of ways to start a beneficial back to school conversation:
- Who are you looking forward to connecting with this school year?
- What is one thing you’re hoping to do during the school year?
- What are the strategies that really worked for you during remote learning?
- Are there things we can build on?
- How are you feeling about this school year?
- What’s one thing you feel excited for?
- Is there anything you feel a bit worried about?
- How can I help you to feel comfortable about school?
It’s time to give summer all you got while also being aware of what awaits you in the fall. Treasure your family, friends and people you love while ensuring you are ready for a strong and positive school year to come!