Wednesday, May 16, 2012

School is almost out! A last minute checklist...

Heather Gillum, PhD, CCC-SLP
The chalkboard over my coffee maker is sporting a number "7"--as in only SEVEN DAYS left of school for my daughter.  Can I get an "Amen"?

In honor of these seven (SEVEN!!!) days left, I offer a checklist of seven things to remember to do before school wraps up for summer.

1. Have you had a wrap-up conference with your teacher?  If not, even a quick email asking if she has any recommendations for things to brush up on over the summer could be very helpful.

2.  Have you expressed your preferences for next year? Most schools don't let parents choose their teachers, but if you have strong feelings about the personality type or classroom characteristics that work for your child (perhaps because those in place this year were not an ideal fit), now is that time to make your wishes known.  Likewise, if there is a student whose presence in your child's class is likley to cause undue stress and negativity, let your principal know now, before it is too late.

3.  Do you have a reading plan for summer?  Use it or lose it--no kidding.  Ask your teacher what types/series of books would be the best level for your child to read over the summer.  Go ahead and start paying attention to reading programs offered by your local library, or set up your own program at home with goals and rewards along the way.

4.  Do you know your child's friends? Don't let peer relationships suffer over the summer.  Find out who your child's friends are, and get their contact info if you don't already have it.  It is especially helpful to have playdates toward the end of the summer to reinvigorate friendships before the start of school.

5.  Are you ready to try something new?  Summer is a great time to work on a new skill because there's no homework to tie your student down in the evenings.  Art, music, gymnastics, and other extra-curriculars are sometimes more enjoyable (for you and your child) when they aren't just another stop on the school-night list of obligations. 

6.  Have you planned some un-planned time? Children love to manage their own time.  No matter how active your summer looks, try to set aside time for kids to just be kids--catching lightning bugs, riding bikes in the neighborhood, and (gasp) playing with all those toys piled up in your house.

7. Have you thanked everyone who made this year special for your child?  At the end of a long year, a quick note is deeply appreciated by teachers and support staff.

On that note, thank YOU for sharing and keeping our blog alive this year.  And keep spreading the word, especially to friends with rising kindergarteners.  Our daily readiness tips will start June 4--be sure to follow us here or on Facebook or Twitter for a quick tidbit every day.


  1. Great tips!! We had trouble keeping the grade school student motivated for summer reading last year. Hoping a "Read-a-thon" approach helps boost interest this year. Time will tell...

  2. Good luck! Last summer I had some little incentives along the way--working toward one big goal was just too overwhelming. I need to see what the Nashville Public Library is doing for their summer reading program-nothing is online yet.


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