First Day of School Tips 
We hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing summer filled with adventure and smiles. It is hard to believe that a new school year is starting so soon, but we hope our tips will help ease the transition. Keep in mind that a new school year is a big change for any student, so it's important to be patient and available to your child. If you need any further support or guidance, please don't hesitate to contact us! 

Enjoy these last couple weeks of summer. 

-Leigh Ann, Cathy, Mary, Catherine, and Lena


7:00-8:30 pm
September 12, 2017

Oakwood School
7210 Braddock Rd
Annandale, VA 22003

6:00-8:00 pm
October 5, 2017

Norwood School
8821 River Road
Bethesda, MD 20817

8:30 am - 12:45 pm
October 28, 2017

Commonwealth Academy
1321 Leslie Ave
Alexandria, VA 22301

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"I've always loved the first day of school better than the last day of school. Firsts are best because they are beginnings."
-Jenny Han

Whether your child is starting school for the first time, transitioning to a new school, or just moving on to the next grade level, it is always important to feel prepared and ready! In this newsletter, our consultants provide two tips to help parents and students of all ages and abilities prepare for their first day of school. 
Tips for Parents 

From Leigh Ann:

  1. Listening and Brainstorming. For parents, it's important to listen to your children when they voice their feelings about starting the new school year. They might be excited, anxious or cool as a cucumber. Encourage your child to express their thoughts and then avoid the urge to down-play or fix their worries. Help them brainstorm ways to address their emotions and process their worries in a positive way. "Will you feel more comfortable if you carpool with Jenny on the first day of school or would you rather ride the bus with the next-door neighbor children?"
  2. Re-think Daily Duties and Needs. Discuss the timeline and bottlenecks of the morning routine. What are your goals for the morning? How about your child? You might be focused on a signed permission slip but she wants to make sure she's wearing a green shirt since it's St. Patrick's Day. Before school starts, come up with a flexible plan on morning, homework and bedtime routines. Discuss what each family member needs to feel success."What do you think you'll need this year to be independent during homework time?" "I need you to be in charge of your lunch so I can get your little brother dressed." Begin practicing these duties and goals in August!
Tips for Students Starting School for the First Time

From Lena:

  1. Visit the school with your child during the summer. Play on the playground, walk down the hallways, take a peak in the classrooms, or create playgroups with your child's classmates. Exposing your child to his/her new school setting will really help the transition during those first few weeks of school!
  2. Read books about the first day of school. This will help facilitate discussions about your child's excitement and fears about starting school for the first time. The school day will be filled with read alouds, so what better time to prepare your child for sitting and listening to books than now? Here are some of my favorite first day of school books for young children: 
    1. The Kissing Hand, by Audrey Penn
    2. Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for Kindergarten, by Joseph Slate
    3. Llama Llama Misses Mama, by Anna Dewdney
    4. Froggy Goes to School, by Jonathan London
    5. Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes, by Eric Litwin

Tips for Students with IEPs

From Catherine:

  1. For Elementary School Students in Public School: Teachers have 20 - 30 students to get to know in the first week of school.  The "All About Me" form (see below) provides teachers with some helpful information and a photo of your child.  Don't assume the teacher already knows about the IEP or 504; include that info in the "You should know" box. 
  2. For Middle School and High School Students: Students now are expected to keep track of all their own work including worksheets, notes, books and assignment references.  Provide Color Coded Folders for each Class - Buy a different color pocket folder for each class.  Let the student pick the color and label each one (ie- Dark Blue-English; Red-Math; Yellow-Science, etc...)  Inside Pocket Labels - left side - "To Be Completed"; right side - "Completed-Turn In".

Tips for Boarding School Students 

From Cathy:

  1. Get to know your roommate. If you receive your roommate information before arrival, try to coordinate what each of you will bring. That way you don't have two of something or you have something you really don't need.   Talk with your roommate about your schedule (eg: are you a morning person or a night owl? neat or sloppy? take showers in am or pm?). If this is your first time rooming with someone, remember it's all about compromise.  Remember how you had to learn sharing in kindergarten? Well, you have to learn it all over again!
  2. Ask for help.
    Don't be afraid to ask for help from other teachers or students. Learning to ask for help is the first step toward independence. This is your chance to mature into an independent young adult!

218 N. Lee Street, Suite 323
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: 703-671-8316      Fax: 703-997-8438