This Week's Message from the Primary Division

A Message From Leonie Drew | Principal Primary Co Head of School.

Dear Parents

Welcome to the 2015 school year and a special warm welcome to all new primary students, staff and their families! We have 119 new students commencing school in primary and we hope that you will soon feel very much a part of the special community that is AISHK. On Monday 26 January we celebrated the School's 20th birthday. What a fabulous way to start the school year! Our celebrations will continue throughout the year.

Parent Information Evenings are being held this week. On Tuesday 27 January parents of Preps to Year 2 had their session and on Thursday 29 January, parents of Year 3-6 students have their information evening.

Making a positive start to school is important for children. There is good evidence that a child's readiness for school and a positive transition has a very positive flow-on effect to a successful adjustment in the school setting and their academic and social development. It's equally important to note that many children may feel some anxiety or challenge initially – this is normal and in most instances these challenges will dissipate in the first few weeks. Educators are very skilled at supporting young children and their parents at this time. So if you have any concerns, it is best to talk to your child's teacher about it – she or he will reassure, guide or direct you to an appropriate source of help.

Parents and carers play an important role in supporting children at the beginning of a new school year. Children constantly look to their parents as their guide in regard to any new experience, so it is important that parents exhibit a calm, positive and matter-of-fact response. Children are sensitive to their parents' anxieties, so even though it is normal for a parent to be a little anxious, try to keep this in check, otherwise it can create unnecessary anxiety for a child. Remember that going to school is an important life experience filled with opportunities for growth, skill development and fun. Like any new experience there are challenges for both the child and the parents. Schools support children to cope with the playground, ensuring they are safe and they enjoy their snack and lunch.

Tips for the new school year

Help children develop predictable routines around waking up, getting ready for the day, eating nutritious meals, taking care of their bodies, going to bed at a regular time, and getting enough sleep. Children are more likely to be successful when their routines help them thrive.

Expect bumps along the way. Achieving high expectations is not like climbing a ladder where each step is a step up. Expect setbacks and doubts. They're all part of the process. The key is to work through the difficulties along the way.

Encourage children to grow and develop at their own pace. Don’t compare your child to other children. Some are early walkers. Some are late walkers. Both are normal. Follow your child’s lead.

Watch out for pressures that you place on your child because of your preferences rather than your child’s needs. For example, not all sports-mad parents are going to have sports-mad children.

Give young children extra time to practise new things. Expect the process to be bumpy and slow. Be encouraging and don’t expect perfection.

Have high expectations for schoolwork and homework. Make it easier for your children to do their homework every day by sitting next to them, having a special place to do homework and showing interest in what they are doing.

Help children break large, difficult tasks into smaller, more manageable tasks. This is called ‘chunking’ and can build confidence as they achieve each part.

Busy families need organisation so parents and children can keep their lives together running smoothly and happily.

  • Fill in the household calendar together as a family – Write the times when family members have commitments and when after-school activities end. Write down who is responsive for picking up the children or whether they will bus or walk home on a given day. Complete as far ahead as possible and keep up with changes.
  • Use technology – If your children have phones, make sure their phones have your numbers and emergency contacts. Update the family phones with contact information.
  • Plan menus for the week – Make a grocery list and shop for fresh, healthy items for children to have for quick, nutritious breakfasts, to bring to school for lunches and to eat at home for after-school snacks. Expect the family to be together for dinner.
  • Anticipate scheduling conflicts – Coordinate the times when family members use the shower, the laundry, the computer, or the TV to keep the peace during busy morning and evening hours.
  • Decide about the appropriate use of technology – Rather than defaulting to the 'electronic babysitter' when you are busy doing household chores or planning for the next day, decide on family rules about appropriately using media and technology. Take the technology away at bedtime!

Starting off the new school year well organised and prepared will ensure that most things run smoothly and together we will have a great school year!

Please remember that if I can ever be of help my e-mail is leonie_drew@aishk.edu.hk.

Leonie Drew
Principal Primary | Co Head of School