The summer holidays are long. The summer holidays are much needed. The summer holidays are always gone too quickly! At the end of the summer holidays, school, college or university looms large and each bringing their own challenges. In order for students, of all ages, to get the best out of the next stage of their academic careers, they need to be well prepared. The requirements for preparedness vary from person to person and are dependent, to some extent, upon the age and stage of their learning and development. However, some general approaches are helpful.
A golden rule for me would be talk, talk and talk some more! The learner in your life is going to feel a mixture of anxiety and excitement. Help them to talk through and process their feelings about the next stage of their learning. What are they looking forward to doing? What do they want to achieve? What are they worried about? What are their concerns? Talk through your experiences of these changes. Talk these through and establish what to do if they, at any time, feel anxious, worried or stressed. The message is; we are here to listen and help, we can work it out.
It always helps to envision the change that is coming. Visit the school, college or university of you can over the holidays. Drive-by, walk the routes, work out routes, visit places nearby, get on the internet and explore the site and images together. Familiarisation breeds contentment (in this case!).
Do you know anyone who already attends the place that the learner in your life will be attending? Invite them over for a get-together to talk it through. This can really help in helping the learner in your life to come to terms with the change and also gives them a person they know at their new place!
Talk through the kinds of resources they may need-uniform for some, stationary and live-away kits for others. Together, plan the purchasing of these resources. Work on developing their independence skills, at whatever stage they are, whether this is toilet training for the very young or independent cooking skills for those about to leave home.
Goal setting; talk through the goals they have for the new academic year. We know that ‘goal directed actions’ are much more likely to result in positive outcomes. Even very young children can be asked ‘what are you looking forward to most…’, older students can carry out a more structured approach to the conversation. However it is done is fine, but I would recommend very much that you do it and then refer to these goals through the year.
There are many ideas…
The BBC has some: https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/grownups/how-to-prepare-your-child-for-primary-school
Look at Tutor Doctor’s recommendations here.