Each year as summer comes to an end, parents begin the task of helping their children once again prepare for the start of a new school year. After many weeks with changed routines and expectations, this can be a difficult process. In this article, Head of College at Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi, Mr. David Ingram, shares 5 insightful tips to assist parents in this "Back to School" process. These 5 tips will help parents ensure their children have a successful start to the school year. 

1. Be Prepared

Being prepared for the first day of school will contribute to a positive start to the new school year. There’s a certain confidence that comes with being on time and having the right uniform, the right equipment and the right accessories. Time and effort spent getting organised in the next few weeks will make a difference to your child.

Did you know?

Uniform Week will be held from Monday, 24 August through to Thursday, 27 August. Important information about Uniform Week, including how to register for your timeslot, has been sent by email. Please be sure to check your emails for regular important updates on the start of the school year.

2. Be Informed (and share important information with your child)

There’s a lot of information to take on board at the beginning of the school year.  When your child knows what is happening in advance it can help build his/her confidence and reduce potential anxieties.  When a child knows what to expect it can really help get the year off to a good start.  There’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re the only one in the class who doesn’t know what’s going on. You can support your child by attending parent information events and then talking through the key points together.  This is also an opportunity to get excited about what they are going to experience in the year ahead.

Did you know?

  • On Thursday, 27 August parents will have an opportunity to meet with classroom teachers via Zoom to learn about what to expect in the weeks and months ahead.

  • On Monday, 31 August families who are new to Dulwich College Shanghai Puxi will be invited to attend a New Student Orientation day.

  • On Tuesday, 15 September Senior School parents will be invited to attend a Senior School parent evening.

Please check your emails for specific details and invitations to these events.

3. Stay Hydrated

Shanghai is hot and humid at this time of year.  Our classrooms provide children with a comfortable and air conditioned learning environment but it’s very important for children to stay hydrated.  Drinking water helps children stay alert in class and avoid fatigue. You can support your child’s learning by getting him/her into this habit before well before they start school. Children who are in the habit of drinking water at home are far more likely to drink water at school. Once school starts, it's important that children drink at least two glasses of water before they arrive at school so they are hydrated to start the day.

Did you know?

We should drink at least 2 litres of water a day.

4. Sleep Well

Multiple studies highlight the importance of sleep for children’s learning.  Quality sleep supports learning because it enhances memory recall, behaviour and focus.  Lack of sleep can make children more distracted and even aggressive.  This has an impact on their learning.  Getting back into stable bedtime routines is really beneficial to your child and his/her learning.  This is as true for teenagers as it is for Toddlers.  The next few weeks present a great opportunity to establish these routines well before school starts. 

Did you know?

A 2013 study (Lathrop, 2013) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst found similar results. Toddlers who took an afternoon nap were more likely to retain newly-learned information after the nap, and even the next day.

Toddler, Nursery, Reception, Year 1: 11+ hours
Year 2, Year 3, Year 4, Year 5: 10+ hours
Year 6, Year 7, Year 8 and Year 9: 9+ hours
Year 10 and Year 11: 9 hours 

5. Reconnect with Friends

Schools are social places and friendships are important.  For some children the transition from family life in holiday mode to being back in a busy and bustling school can be difficult. You can support your child by setting up playdates so that they can reconnect with friends and classmates before school starts.  Even the most confident teenagers find this helpful.  As one Senior School student told me, "catching up with my friends before school starts helps me focus on my study better when classes actually start". If you are unable to meet up with friends, then it can be helpful to open your copy of last year’s Yearbook and sharing some of your child’s favourite memories.  For new families we would recommend setting up play dates in the first month of school to help strengthen friendships that develop in class.

Did you know?

Developing quality friendships can support the development of conversational skills, interpersonal skills and emotional self-control.

Lathrop, J., 2013. Sleep Research Study Finds Daytime Naps Enhance Learning In Preschool Children. [online] University of Massachusetts Amherst.